Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Widening I-95

What does a government do when presented with more than $400M in Federal and State money? Head for the trough, of course. And that is exactly what PennDOT is doing, seeking to widen the Central Delaware's I-95 corridor. 

If you can stomach it, pour through PennDOT's piss poor rationalizations here. It's a laundry list of bureaucratic horse shit, an effort to spend money while they've got it, and worry about the rest later. After all, an incomplete project is the best leverage for more state money later. And cost overruns are synonymous anything the Commonwealth attempts so no one is ever held accountable for the crap the state heaps upon us.

But my beef isn't with the physical logistics of widening I-95. It's happened before, and the state proudly plowed through hundreds of densely packed urban blocks for a highway better suited to Camden. 

Aside from the fact that I-95 could be narrowed if the same funding were applied to improving public transit, the dinosaurs planning at PennDOT probably just discovered SimCity and decided to have a little fun with a waterfront just being realized by those of us who actually live here.


What grinds my gears (I wonder if PennDOT even knows that Tesla is making that phrase irrelevant) is that this government organization - like most - is wasting badly needed Federal and State funds in an effort to look busy, tackling the most doable, allegedly necessary project. 

Have they considered the fact that a widened I-95 will encourage more traffic, traffic funneled into the congested Vine Street Expressway and onto the even worse I-76? And why aren't these funds going towards improving I-76? Has PennDOT given up on that parking lot? How about improving South Philadelphia's link between I-95 and I-76? The last time I took I-76 South, I had to get off the interstate and drive through a few miles of Libya before connecting to I-95. Why?

This is pork. A big, raw, parasite infested pork butt. PennDOT got their hands on some money and they want to look like they're working. It happens everywhere you see a construction sign proudly exclaiming, "Your Tax Dollars at Work." But expanding interurban highways is senseless in an era when people are finally looking for an alternative to their cars.

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