We couldn’t lose any better if we tried.


Anyone paying attention to local Bridges Project inanity is probably aware that the Bridges Authority has successfully maintained its .000 batting average in regard to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER grant program.

Meanwhile, in more rational parts of our country, other cities are enjoying the investments and paid work such a program makes possible.

TIGER transforming Kansas City’s Green Impact Zone, U.S. Department of Transportation

The Green Impact Zone is a 150-block area in urban core of Kansas City that has been devastated over the years by high rates of poverty, unemployment, crime, and high concentrations of vacant and abandoned properties. Local and regional leaders have come together to jump-start the zone’s economic recovery by upgrading its infrastructure.

Crews are fixing broken sidewalks, repaving roads, and coordinating traffic signals. In addition, the Green Impact Zone project will provide better access to regional opportunities through expanded transit facilities. Describing the Troost Avenue improvements, which include a new pedestrian bridge separated from vehicle traffic, the Kansas City Star editorial board wrote, “This is a tremendous investment to support redevelopment in Kansas City’s urban core.”

When one calculates the ultimate costs of the Bridges Project, it’s important to consider such missed opportunities as well. It’s especially saddening when one realizes that our lack of such investment makes us less competitive for other programs like HUD’s housing initiatives as well, including FHA loans. Below, HUD Secretary Donovan on the spiraling costs of sprawl that the Bridges Project seeks to increase:

Watch Housing + Transportation costs adding up on PBS. See more from Need to Know.

But we can’t say the Feds didn’t let us know.

The first three rounds of DOT’s TIGER grants have funded high-impact transportation projects in all 50 states, in Puerto Rico, and right here in Washington, DC. Across the country, this competitive program is fostering beneficial and innovative solutions that:

*Contribute to long-term economic competitiveness,
*Upgrade the safety and quality of existing transportation infrastructure and facilities,
*Increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and
*Improve the quality of life in communities through better transportation choices and connections.

What we’re seeing in the Ohio River Bridges Project is a failure of leadership that will regurgitate back onto us for decades to come, both in terms of what we’ll get if not significantly changed and in what what we’ve already lost. That they want us to pay for it with 40-50 years of tolls is nothing more than proof of their long-standing inability to garner support for a project that citizens, planners, and bean counters around the world view as a compounding of previous mistakes rather than a solution.