Skip to comments.North Austin bike trail unbuilt two years after getting stimulus grant (why we're tanking)
Posted on 08/09/2011 11:06:29 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Shovel ready, it turns out, doesn't always mean shovel ready.
In the first year of the Obama administration, the federal government awarded Austin a $1.9 million stimulus grant for a project the city called "shovel ready": a 3.2-mile concrete bicycle trail along the northern portion of Walnut Creek in North Austin. More than two years later, there is only a clear-cut, 20-foot-wide swath, along with some partially buried metal rods and concrete along the creek.
Work has stopped and will not resume anytime soon. The city, after fearing it would lose the federal money, is starting over. Oversight of the project has been moved to a different city department. And city officials terminated the project's landscape architecture firm and construction company, which have been paid more than $1 million combined for plans that are being abandoned and construction work that might have to be redone.
Lawyers for the two firms and the city disagree about who was at fault, who should have been paid and how much.
City employees, in emails to one another, have called the project "troubled," an "embarrassment to the city" and a "typical (City of Austin) problem."
The completion date is now tentatively May 2013. That is four years after city and state officials deemed the project "shovel ready" and therefore eligible for stimulus money.
"We are extraordinarily disappointed with what's been happening," said Javier Bonafont, president of the Walnut Crossing Neighborhood Association, which oversees an area west of MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and north of Duval Road. "That path is supposed to provide us safe access across MoPac and to places like Austin Community College. Now it's just a scar along the back of people's properties.
(Excerpt) Read more at statesman.com ...
Well, we all knew this is how it’s done.
“This was one problem after another,” Williamson said. “At one point, they even told us to get out to the site and look busy so they wouldn’t risk losing the funding. We don’t run into these problems when we work for other cities.”
Dig a hole
Fill it in
Dig a hole
Fill it in
Dig a hole
Fill it in
Surely this will save us
Explains quite well the austin moto,”Keep Austin Weird”
I bet there are hundreds if not thousands os similar projects that went nowhere even as they ate up our tax dollars
Why, that bike path is a bargain at only $593,750 per mile. Think of all those bureaucrats it supported writing environmental impact statements, along with dissertations regarding sustainability, diversity, and minority issues.
I know someone who knows someone who’s job it is to track these grants at the local level. I’ve been told as often as not the money disappears into the pockets of local Democrat operatives. And under Obama they likely don’t come back asking any questions.
Sounds like a typical city construction project anywhere in the country:
Low ball the estimate, make it sound like a cake walk, steer some fat contracts to your goombahs, every local official comes out of the wood work wanting to make their own personal mark, contractors cash in on the changes. Then the choice is either scrap the project because the money is gone, or cost-overrun-city.
And it went to prop up union jobs. I just saw this while reading the Austin American-Statesmen (where I found this bike path story).
Police union agreement unfair to taxpayers .......Turning sick hours that Austin taxpayers provide to the city's police officers into cash for the Austin Police Association might be legal, but the arrangement can and should raise eyebrows at City Hall.
As the American-Statesman's Tony Plohetski reported Sunday, the police union has converted 7,000 paid hours that officers can draw upon to conduct local union business into cash. The hours were intended to give officers who are union leaders time to conduct union business without having to burn vacation or sick time.
The long-standing arrangement is included in the contract the city and the police union negotiated, but for the past 18 months, the Austin police union has handed much of that time to the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas in exchange for cash, Plohetski reported. Todd Harrison, an Austin police sergeant became CLEAT's president in 2010.
Harrison's predecessor was Chris McGill, an El Paso police officer. During McGill's three-year term that began in 2007, CLEAT reimbursed the City of El Paso for his salary and benefits. In a Jan. 2, 2010, article, the American-Statesman reported that CLEAT would reimburse the city for Harrison's $143,000 full-time wages and benefits.
That's not the way things turned out. Somewhere along the line, the reimbursement arrangement was rearranged.
The statewide police association gets about $93,000 that it would have reimbursed the City of Austin; the Austin Police Association cashes in hours that according to its contract with the city have no cash value if the agreement is ever terminated; and Austin taxpayers, of course, pick up the slack.
..When Plohetski started asking questions about it, Wayne Vincent, the Austin police union president, defended the practice, and he continues that defense on this page. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said he asked city lawyers to review the arrangement and was told that the agreement was between the local and statewide organizations and was out of his purview.
Imagine this project in China. They would have knocked down every tree, used whatever access they needed, and had the damned thing built in 2 weeks using whatever kind of material was cheap. And some idiot would be praising China for “growth”.
When the cops are the criminals, the criminals have a cake walk and the people loose everything.
And now they're starting over all again -- but they're going to get it right this time -- starting with bids for a new design......
Liberals in charge.
What were we to expect?
It is simple! They didn’t build the trail because after the democrats and the union leadership had skimmed their “share” of the pot there wasn’t enough left to build more than 1/16th of a mile.
FUBO & FAD
Insult to injury department, we gave them the money and they wasted it, still no bike path.
There should be NONE of these projects, NONE! What the hell does anybody need a rape trail, I mean bike path for? I don't understand why liberals get so aroused, I mean excited, about “bike paths”.
We had bike paths when I was a kid. They were called driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, and roads. I think they still have those. Oh, in the country we also had lane-ways, dirt roadways, and dirt paths (trails).
So, we need new multimillion dollar bike paths, because?
We have that here as well. They have been planning and working on it for years. I have photos & video of the city installing (2001) a bridge across our main highway as part of this bike trail. It is big enough to accommodate a vehicle although it is strictly a pedestrian bike bridge. It is barricaded off and not one person has crossed this huge steel bridge in ten years. I don't know who paid for it, but I think you all did. THANKS! I'll let you know when it actually starts being used. That is if I am still kicking.
Don’t forget “start a minority-ownded business”
To save the e-n-v-i-r-o-n-m-e-n-t.
I loved your comments.
Except there's nobody with a wheelchair and no blind people in the neighborhood (I've lived here for 20+ years and I know of none and have seen none) nor are there businesses, offices or services frequented by blind or disabled people.
So why did they take out all these corner curbs and replace them with unneeded nubbly ramps?
X 100,000,000 = Better Living Through Subsidy
Dig a hole
Fill it in
An old man is sitting on his porch watching the world go by and sipping lemonaid.
A city truck pulls up across the street and a ways down.
The driver gets out, walks around the back and takes a shovel out of the back and then digs a hole at the roadside. The hole finished, he gets back in the truck and lights up a cig.
Nothing happens for 10 minutes.
Then the passenger gets out of the truck, walks around the back and grabs the shovel and fills in the hole. He throws the shovel back in the truck and gets back in the passenger’s side.
The truck starts and moves twenty feet up the road. The driver gets out, digs, gets back in; theres another 10 minute wait and then the passenger repeats his actions filling in the hole.
The truck starts and moves twenty feet up the road.
The old guy can’t take it any more so he picks up his cane and walks out to the street and approaches the driver who is on his way to get the shovel again.
The old man asks “What are you guys doing?”
“What are you talking about?” asks the confused old guy.
“We’re the city tree crew and we’re planting trees along the road but the guy who puts the tree in the hole is out sick today.”
I live in a conservative town and have never seen anything like this.
It’s been an endless money pit, hasn’t it?
Now we’re paying P & I on all the money tossed into the pit.
(((shaking))) my head and fist in disgust.
Good one. I'll be using that.
Many years ago, as a child growing up in Mass, we lived in a town that was notorious for such thinking. If it happened that a road would be repaved everyone knew that within the month the water or gas dept. would come along and dig up their line, leaving the newly paved road with a lumpy, scabrous patch. Happened every time sure as the sun coming up. It never occured to them to coordinate so that the trenching got done before the paving.
A street next to the elementary school my daughter went to is being repaved. They dug it up a week before school opens.
Paine: It never occured to them to coordinate so that the trenching got done before the paving.
*chuckle* I grew up in Mass and you just described every town I lived in.
There are dirt roads in Vermont that are better than any paved secondary road in Mass.