Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Opinion

March 8, 2013

That's genius

Every week, I am given a new reason to shake my head in shock and shame for what is going on in the world around me. This week was no exception.

The Des Moines Register reported on Tuesday that a $31 million road construction project around West Des Moines is being held up by a bat.

Yes, this happened. A bat, which most people would not hesitate to kill if it was in their homes, is stifling progress on a road construction project that could bring jobs and development to Central Iowa.

I actually have two issues with this; the first is obviously the idiocy of letting a bat impede human progress and the second is, why are we spending $31 million on an Interstate exchange in “the metro,” which already has a great deal of paved roads and prosperity, when there are farmers and rural Iowans who are driving on some truly nasty lanes?

I’m trying to research the breakdown of costs of a new mile of road to find out why it’s so expensive. I haven’t gotten very far, but I’m not going to give up. I did speak to a DOT representative who said that the cost for a new mile of paved road is $4 million.

Yes, that price seems ridiculous to me, too, that’s why I’m looking into what we’re buying with that $4 million.

Nevertheless, chances are that some roads are not that expensive, such as gravel and sealcoat. I think there are plenty of farmers in the bottom tiers of counties, specifically, who would see much more benefit, and more miles of road covered, with that $31 million.

Since farmers, even by admission of nearly every politician you will ever meet, are the true economic engine of this state, why not invest more to ensure that they can continue to be? When you stop and think about it, whom do you believe needs improved access to major roadways? Is West Des Moines known for crumbling or failing roads?

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