Monday, February 04, 2008


Here we go again:

When the Mon-Fayette Expressway was conceived more than 40 years ago, the idea of a high-speed highway connecting Pittsburgh and Morgantown, W.Va., seemed like an urgent transportation and economic development need for southwestern Pennsylvania...

Now, a group of business and political leaders is looking to jump-start the project through a public-private partnership that they hope could raise half of the estimated $3.6 billion cost.

Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl recently convened a closed-door meeting of more than 60 elected officials and business leaders from all corners of southwestern Pennsylvania to expedite plans to complete the Mon-Fayette Expressway.

For his part, Mr. Onorato, who has always supported the toll road, signed onto this latest effort because of his desire to further redevelop the brownfield left by the demise of manufacturing in the valley, where he has concentrated his efforts in recent years, said spokesman Kevin Evanto.

"[Mr. Onorato] believes development in the Mon Valley needs a road connection like this highway," Mr. Evanto said. He added that Mr. Onorato was especially drawn to this effort because of "the possibility of what public-private partnerships can bring to the table."
Now if Onorato was being intellectually honest about this, he'd point out that the areas that are being "served" by the Mon-Fayette aren't the brownfields or old mill towns in the Mon Valley, but the land developers in Fayette County. In fact, a close examination of the route shows that the road will avoid or cut through a lot of the communities that would have benefited from such "help."

I do not believe it to be a coincidence, however, that the preserved Carrie Furnance site is situated next to the proposed MFX: a perfect blending of antiquated technology and antiquated city planning.

Now, if the Ravenstahl administration actually thought about this plan for a second, they'd realize, apart from encouraging sprawl, that such a road would detract from the ongoing and planned developments in Nine Mile Run, Hazelwood, Southside Works, and the Pittsburgh Technology Center. If they were engineers, they would probably realize that the interchange at Bates Street alone (connecting the Parkway East to the MFX) is going to be ridiculously cumbersome, an eyesore, and a traffic nightmare.

But, far be it for rationality and logic to stand in the way of our young mayor and his 3rd Rate CPA "big brother" getting potential campaign contributions from highway contracting firms and housing (bubble) developers.

It's like they're saying "Eat this Shit! It tastes better than any other Shit you've ever eaten!" and they have testimonials from other shit eaters saying "Yes! You'll love this shit! It's the best shit ever!" and they have people that say "We'll raise the money to make sure that you'll have all the shit you can eat for life! You'll never have to worry about running out of shit again!"

And I'm saying


Still, I sort of understand the whole Mon-Fayette expressway on the bureaucratic level: it's a Golden Turd.

Let me tell you a story which continues on my scatological musings:

Back many, many moons ago when I was in college, one unremarkable day there were signs posted in the dorm alerting residents that one of their brethren had left what can only be described as "a massive shit" in one of the stalls and inviting whoever it was who left the giant crap to "seek medical attention at once" for "there is no way anything that size should come out of a human being."

As we were curious youths, we immediately sought out the offending stall and, sure enough, the most massive piece of shit we had ever seen sat there before us.

Word quickly spread through campus about the massive dump left in our dorm and it wasn't long before select residents were leading tours through the bathroom showing off, with pride, our giant brownie loaf.

After several hours, however, the smell wafting out of the bathroom was almost too intense. Residents started leaving and people started complaining about the stench. Still, no one wanted to flush it because no one wanted to be the guy that had flushed King Dookie down the drain. We didn't really want the shit, but we couldn't bear to part with it.

Eventually, some RA took it in his hands (not literally) to dispose of the waste and that was the end of that.

I think every bureaucrat has his or her own Golden Turd: an awful, stupid, vile project that, for whatever reason, no one wants to flush.

And that's a good metaphor for the Mon-Fayette Expressway, in my opinion.

Warning: The previous post contained foul language and should not have been seen by younger readers.


Andrea Boykowycz said...


Robert said...

On the WV end, we don't want it, and you can't make us take it.