Monday, August 04, 2008

Say goodbye to good roads in Kentucky

Kentucky may trail the rest of the 49 states in a lot of categories, but good roads hasn't been one of them.

Until now, that is.

An initiative announced today by Gov. Beshear and his political hack of a Transportation secretary, Joe Prather, means that in the future, Kentuckians won't be seeing roads built at the quality they've come to expect.

Beshear and his hacks call it "Practical Solutions," but there's nothing practical about scaling back projects to the point where they won't meet future traffic expectations and are not much more safe or efficient than the old roads they replace.

Transportation officials deny it, but they've already been cutting projects that have been in the works for years. For instance, a stretch of KY 80 in the western part of the state has been built as a four-lane road, but the idiots running the Transportation Cabinet have decided to only pave two of the four lanes before the road opens later this year.

So much for the longstanding promise by governors of both parties to build a four-lane US 68/KY 80 corridor across the southern tier of the Commonwealth.

Another project, to build a connector route between the Mountain Parkway and I-75, disappeared from the state's Six-Year Plan this year. This highway is vital for the economic development of a depressed area, not to mention being a huge safety improvement, but now it's gone. The state is building one last section of the road on the western end, and is spending money already committed on a planning study for two other sections, but that's it. Residents of the area have pushed for this road for years, Gov. Fletcher accelerated its development, but now the Beshear Bunch is axing it.

Other safety improvements, long planned, may be going by the wayside as well.

What highways do get built won't be as good as what's been built previously. Roads planned for four lanes may instead be two-lane routes. Two-lane roads with truck passing lanes may see those passing lanes eliminated. Wide, paved shoulders will give way to gravel or dirt shoulders. Roads with gentle grades and curves that can be easily traversed at 55 or 60 miles per hour may instead be built to a standard of 45 or 35 mph -- which isn't really much of an improvement at all.

The last four years -- indeed, longer than that -- have been very good for highway improvements in Kentucky. Two years ago, the state let a record $1 billion in road construction contracts, and then that amount was topped last year. Now suddenly the state is broke and has to cancel or scale back projects? We don't buy it for a minute. Kentucky's gas tax revenues haven't declined that much due to the high prices at the pump.

Give us a break. Just how incompetent is Joe Prather and his merry band of 'tards, anyway? We understand this "Practical Solutions" nonsense is the brainchild of a recycled engineer who was in part of the "in crowd" in past administrations but had fallen out of favor in recent years, but (like many of this administration's appointees) was brought back to prove anew just how poorly they had run the state in administrations past.

We get the feeling that the state would be better off investing its highway construction project dollars and waiting for an administration that really understands this state's transportation needs, rather than wasting these valuable funds on inadequate projects that barely address current needs and don't address future needs. We're all for wise use of tax dollars, but this new initiative is penny-wise and pound-foolish, to say the least.

Every day, the Beshear administration proves its incompetence and lunacy all over again. Today's production in Frankfort is yet another example of how this entire state is suffering at the hands of this brainless bunch.

2011 can't come quickly enough.


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