It was inevitable that it would happen - waste, greed and inane funding rules have led to some glitches in spending federal stimulus dollars.
Some municipalities are losing out on money because their projects do not qualify (as in the case of West Miami and their traffic calming circles) while other cities are spending the money on unnecessary projects so that they don’t lose out on the free money.
The City of Sweetwater is a great example of how the money is being wasted. They are repaving a stretch of 114th avenue when the administration has publicly said that other local projects are in greater need of repair.
“Though we’re grateful for the funding, we would much rather use this stimulus money on roads that really need the repairs,” Mayor Manny Maroño said. “But this is what we’re allowed to do with the money, so we really don’t have a choice in the matter.”
You do have a choice Mayor Maroño, don’t take the money! Let other local municipalities use the money for projects that are actually useful. The real problem with the ARRA funds is that they are bound to rules that favor roads with higher capacity, feeding the car-centric method of planning in this country. Money can only be used on roads that service a certain capacity at the expense of other more worthy projects (like those that reduce capacity or slow traffic down). What we need is to get away from a ‘Level of Service’ metric for measuring roadway success to one that takes into account walkablility and transit. Until then we’ll just keep repaving the same roads over and over and over.
Maybe I should go into road paving. Seems like that business is doing just fine.
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