Articles in The Leader-Herald titled "State plans $40M lock repair" and "Obama urges Congress to put money into roads, bridges" - which were printed on May 13 and May 14, respectively - should be an eye opener at just how inept government is at managing our infrastructure.
It is important to note the canal system is under the state Thruway Authority. This sleight of hand occurred under former Gov. Mario Cuomo as a one-time fix to help close a budget gap through backdoor borrowing. Fast-forward to President?Barack Obama standing on the Tappan Zee Bridge pleading for more borrowed money to replace that part of the Thruway system. The highway gas tax and the 60 years worth of tolls are not enough to keep 500 miles of road in shape? The last 20 years of tolls were beyond what the bill of sale promised when the Thruway was built.
What could, should be done at this point?
1. Assess the true economic value of the canal system and perhaps simply close it, returning the Mohawk River to its historic banks. The river in its original state still could be enjoyed by many people using canoes, kayaks and small craft. The sections of whitewater the locks eliminate might be an attraction. There is no truthful argument the canal is integral to manufacturing or defense.
2. I thought Guy Park Manor was a colonial home on the historic register. Seems a stretch to make it an air-conditioned office space. Who will rent the space?Pperhaps a congressman using borrowed federal dollars to pay the state?
3. We already pay tolls and high gas taxes, so where has that money gone? Did our leaders not save for the day the Tappan Zee Bridge would need replacement?
4. This is the same bunch of politicians who howl for high speed rail. If that and the canal are good ideas, let the private sector develop them without public dollars.
The priority of this state and country should be maintaining infrastructure in a cost effective manner, not diverting specific infrastructure funds into other "priorities."
The day of the free ride is over; we need people in government who can work within a balanced budget, not simply spend money that does not exist.
It is time to send these 20th century, progressive-thinking politicians home: we cannot afford them any longer.