We'd like to spend our time talking about the benefits of a vibrant, sustainable downtown. But the entrenched political and media interests are working against us, so we need to speak out.
When it comes to bridges, a small group of citizens and elected leaders will do anything to stop an East End Bridge. The politicians are being dishonest with the people who elected them.
City Center and the Downtown Arena are two examples of how decisions get made without the input of tax-paying citizens like you. GLI and other groups like DDC and the Bridges Coalition are used to support an agenda without your input or the input of the Metro Council. It's a practice that needs to be stopped if we want true public discourse on important city issues like bridges.
Mayor Abramson, Congressman Yarmuth, Jim Welch (Chair of DDC, past President of River Fields) and others are pushing for a tolling authority to avoid true public accountability. Like the Arena Authority, a tolling authority would close the process to public dialogue and allow them to control the process. Political appointees that should represent the interests of the people, will leverage their power and influence to get what they want -- a road here, a school there, whatever. In the words of Illinois Governor Blagojevich, it's "f#%$ng gold."
If legislation passes in February to create a tolling authority, kiss accountability good-bye. It won't matter if thousands of people email the Governor or call their state reps. It will be too late. The response will be, "it's out of our hands."Â
We already have $411 Million of funding for the Bridges Project through 2010. We need to spend it NOW on the East End Bridge. It's the least expensive portion of the project with the greatest benefit.Â
Contact your representative today and tell them that you don't want to pay a $5 toll to cross the river. You don't want to fund a 23 lane Spaghetti Junction. They need to prioritize the East Bridge and get it going ASAP.