Monday, August 27, 2007

Cult of the MFX

I think that every bureaucrat has a project that just won't die. The Mon-Fayette Expressway is one of those. From the P-G:

A biennial public hearing about funding road, bridge and transit projects in southwestern Pennsylvania could turn into a rally supporting the $3.6 billion northern section of the Mon-Fayette Expressway.

A dozen speakers, including local officials, have lined up to testify as a bloc Wednesday before the State Transportation Commission about completing the toll road in Allegheny County. County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and state Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Monroeville, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, are on the list.

They want to re-establish the importance of building the final 24 miles to Pittsburgh and Monroeville. Otherwise, when final design is finished about a year from now, a lack of funds could threaten one of the nation's biggest new highway construction programs after more than a decade of planning...

Mr. Markosek said no one expects the commission to identify or pledge funds for expressway construction. Not only is the estimated $3.6 billion price tag well beyond the reach of traditional revenues, but the state Legislature directed in the 1980s that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission be responsible for building the expressway and a Southern Beltway as key elements of a toll road expansion program...
I kinda imagine these meetings to be filled with guys twirling Snidely Whiplash mustaches waiting for Little Hazelwood... er... Nell to get hit by the train. It's a cadre of rejected comic book villains named things like "The Exhaustinator," "Commander Concrete," and "Solomon Grundy & Trumbull, LLC."

But let's set aside the problem that there's no real budget for this project, nor any real political will, just a lot of people obsessed with building bypasses just to build bypasses. Let's also assume that the hold up of construction has not put the communities in the path of the expressway in limbo.

But, assuming that the ascertain that the Mon Valley still needs a limited access for manufacturing that disappeared in the mid 80s, here's my suggestion: acquire all the properties in the right of way, move them 50 ft. back and build a four lane neighborhood boulevard.

Heck, I'm feeling generous: throw in a light rail line down the middle an give everyone a gold sovereign.

Honestly, the whole "process" of the Mon Fayette has become so much of an ordeal, that we might as well just wait around until those eggheads over at CMU actually get around to building us them there flying robotic cars.

Imagine the tolls on THAT expressway.

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