A Tiger or the East West Corridor a gamble is still a gamble

The East West Corridor or the road the Ole Seagull calls “The Road to Maybe Halfway Somewhere” is scheduled to be discussed. The discussion relates to a potential gamble of up to $400,000 of county tax payer funds to see if Taney County can get a stimulus grant for a portion of it and will be held on Monday, August 10 at 10:30 a.m. Oh, when you look at the weekly agenda sent out by the county, don’t expect to see a meeting on Monday about the East West Corridor.

The east west corridor will be discussed at the 10:30 meeting entitled “Administrative & Departmental Functions (Commission Hearing Room) Tiger Grant.” They may call it a Tiger, but in terms of public participation in the process, if it looks like the East West Corridor, smells like the East West Corridor, and specifically relates to the East West Corridor why not make it plain on the agenda that the meeting is about the East West Corridor.

Just like, it seems, everything else associated with this project, Monday’s meeting, in the opinion of an Ole Seagull is simply an attempt to move the project forward by its supporters without any study showing that the project is actually a priority transportation need for Taney County. He also believes it is an attempt to minimize the effectual involvement from those who might be opposed to the project until such a priority is determined.

Interestingly, Presiding Commissioner Chuck Pennel said it is his understanding that the costs to apply for the grant had been estimated to be as high as $400,000 and that the chances of getting the grant have gone from the initial estimate of very good to less than five percent. Western District Commissioner Jim Strafuss agrees that the chances for actually getting the funds have gone down since the optimistic early estimates, but doesn’t know exactly how much or how much it will actually cost to apply for the grant.

To an Ole Seagull’s way of thinking we are having a meeting with an engineering firm that is making a presentation trying to earn a fee for submitting a application for the grant and everything is being done to make sure that it is presented in an environment that is as favorable to the proponents of the East West Corridor as possible. Dare we at least hope, if the original statements were accurately attributed, that the engineering firm making the proposal isn’t the one who originally came up with the $400,000 estimate or that the chances of getting the grant were very good?

When it comes to the East West Corridor project however, that, like the other factors, will make no difference. “The Road to Maybe Halfway Somewhere” will be pushed by its supporters to get the county committed as quickly as possible regardless of Taney County’s transportation priorities, the expressed will of its voters or common sense. The only question is how much of the tax payers money will be gambled and how big a gamble it will be?

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