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LanghamP

Gigantic interchange with few cars.

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Posted (edited)

I recently moved near Montgomery and this gigantic structure caught my eye the first time I drove here.

https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/local/2016/01/26/outer-loop-now-open/79302574/

Words and pictures cannot quite convey just how enormous this group of bridges are, but if you can imagine three gigantic bridges, each at least 10 stories high, off enormous earthen ramps, with cars balanced on them with a waist-high guardrail.

It's awe inspiring, and it's not just a rather big bridge but three of them. I had to go look up what this was.

Evidently it serves 800 houses but while I've driven along it just for fun I've hardly seen even a single auto on it, the reason being that those 800 houses are already being served by two or more arterial roads. A back of the napkin calculation shows that, assuming the regular 30 year lifespan of bridges before requiring service, this structure requires a tax of around $175,000 per household or about $800 per month for 30 years.

I don't think this is affordable. I think this single project which addresses no need (if it did, more cars would be using it) may make the township of Pike Road insolvent, or if spread out to the Montgomery area is essentially subsidizing a minor suburban area (that's not even being used!).

I see projects like this all the time, everywhere in the USA. I find them ludicrous in a way few others do. A ludicrous project is one where almost anything else you do with that money, no matter how wild, is a better use of that money. Even more ludicrous is using city bonds (future tax payers) to fund these ludicrous projects.

It would be like one of us taking a loan out to buy a Ferrari and a garage to house it in. Maybe. I'm kinda wondering if buying a Ferrari is a better use of money than the interchange; it'd be cheaper, less destructive to the environment, and certainly more fun. Or we could buy every man, woman, and child oh, twenty Gotways? Whatever.

Edited by LanghamP
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It sounds like this was an "interstate spur" so the federal government most likely picked up 70 percent of the cost and the state only paid 30 percent. This project was probably part of some horse trading to get the state's senators to vote for some other boondoggle project in other states. Every senator wants to bring home the bacon for their state.

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On 10/8/2018 at 3:39 PM, dmethvin said:

It sounds like this was an "interstate spur" so the federal government most likely picked up 70 percent of the cost and the state only paid 30 percent. This project was probably part of some horse trading to get the state's senators to vote for some other boondoggle project in other states. Every senator wants to bring home the bacon for their state.

Indeed it was a 70/30 fund, yet the Federal government isn't lacking for more sensible projects to pay for. For instance, the 2008 bank bailout cost a cool 15 trillion dollars; maybe we could pay off our creditors instead of insanely borrowing more money to pay for bridges that are barely bring used?

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