"Sarah fouled her own nest, and I can't understand why. I hate to think it was simply greed or ambition."I'll tell you what it is: Stupidity. Or perhaps better stated as ignorance. It's a blind faith in some bullshit somebody tries to pass as "free market." But, how is it really a free market when we have state and federal taxpayers funding the highways and overpasses below.
Expenditures at a time where Alaska isn't exactly the wealthiest state in the world and beyond that, we are discovering that we are too poor for expansive spatial relationships between home and work, you to me, me to goods, etc. Distances only exacerbated by incredibly expensive and physically corrosive highways and interchanges.
Let's take a look at Wasilla shall we?
This has been covered ad nauseum, but still important, Wasilla is a town of 9,780 people. Half of which are apparently on Meth because it is such a miserable place. I quote again from the previous article:
The two lakes are the town jewels, the only eye relief along a harrowing corridor of strip malls, big-box stores and fast-food drive-throughs that is Wasilla. "Lord, help me get through Wasilla," reads one Alaska bumper sticker.Unfortunately, Google Earth only has decent photography of the edges of Wasilla, not the thriving downtown that we've told has been completely gutted for auto-centric, and ultimately very ephemoral auto-oriented nameless, placeless, and faceless, strip center style development.
Each of these pictures comes from within 6 miles of "downtown" Wasilla, if there still is such a thing, but based on the aerial, still within the boundary of suburban expansion.
The first, and closest to downtown. Keep in mind, all of these interchanges, pricing I would guess, in the 8- to 9-figure range times four. Nine thousand, seven hundred and eighty people. This one is still under construction. Whole lot of bang for their buck the taxpayers of Alaska are getting: a gas station, strip center, and two big box stores that will be empty within ten years.
Next. Somebody please tell me the purpose of this interchange? So the five people that live along it don't have to drive 1 mile to the next one?
Talk about bridge to nowhere?! Here is an interchange and overpass that stops. ON BOTH SIDES. Sure, it is intended to go further into the hyper-population explosion that is the metropolis of Wasilla. 9,780. This bridge alone probably cost about $25 million dollars. That's about 35 million Euros if you're scoring at home...or even if you're alone.
Last, and I can give a pass to this one because it is the intersection of the Glen Highway and the Parks Highway, but the question remains: Why does 9,780 people need a fully built out highway?
I'm certain some engineering firm was paid handsomely, a few big box developers swindled the city, state, and any federal assistance that joined the party, and retail dollars from the few wallets not dedicated to meth in Wasilla, get sucked in the middle of the night to Bentonville, AK, further impoverishing the people.
BUT BUILDING HIGHWAYS MEANS JOBS, DUMMY!!!!!111!!!!!!
Temporary ones. Ones that leave as well. This is the small mindset of the current Republican party: handouts to the road lobby for the sake of short-term growth with no mind for the long-term consequences.
As I've stated before, I'm working on a paper regarding how transportation policy needs to follow more of an economic mindset. And that is, to focus on the return on investment, the big picture return, in terms of the type, quality, and sustainability of the development that various transportation types and designs create.
Because development is always a reaction to the form transportation takes. Ugly road: turn your back on it, put a parking lot in front, and a wall in the back.
Hopefully, we can prevent other towns from succumbing to Palin's "small town" values of turning over the keys to the quality of life of the residents and taxpayers to every special interest with their hand out.