Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Transit Center project is a no-brainer... to the rational people in Troy

from Rob

Mayor, council: 
I have followed the transit center issue with a certain degree of interest for the last several years, wondering at times why it was a contentious issue for anyone.  As far as I could tell, we were being given money to build something in Troy, with very little outlay on the city’s part in return for a large sum, 8.5 million dollars worth apparently, from the federal government being used to build it.
Seems like a no-brainer to me. In fact, I was pleased to actually see a return of some of the tax money I invest in my country every year come back to the community I live in, and glad it was being used for mass transit, something that saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and gives people without the benefit of cars, the freedom to move about that I enjoy as an American lucky enough to own a car. Plus, I just like trains, and wish we had more of them. I’ve traveled extensively in this country and some abroad, and always have been impressed by how every great city I’ve ever been to has lots of trains and subways to get around in. Every single one. 
But for some reason, every time I’d show up at a city council meeting or watch one on TV, someone would bring up the transit center as an example of the Troy city council or mayor wasting our money. In fact, it was, and is, always someone from Troy Citizens United who does the complaining about the Transit Center. Apparently, they think that if we turn this 8.5 million dollars from the Federal Government down and say no to the transit center, all that money will somehow magically be returned to us in the form of a refund or something, or that they’re doing their patriotic duty by saying no.  
Well, it doesn’t work like that. If we say no, the money gets pegged for some other transit project somewhere else, maybe in another town or another state. Troy loses out, and all the jobs that would be created in order to build this center won’t be needed.    
That bears repeating, I think:  We lose the 8.5 million dollar investment in our town, it goes away to somewhere else, and the jobs needed to build the Transit center are lost, which means a lot of people who could really use the work won’t get it, all because of a certain small group of people, including, apparently our new mayor, are willing to put an obviously flawed ideology over the welfare of the city.  
This is not just naivete, it is foolish, willful political stupidity. If I were one of the architects, engineers or construction workers who lost out on the opportunity to have a good paying job for a year or two while this center was being built, I think I’d be extremely upset.  As it is, I’m pretty upset about it even being an issue.    

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