Last year, when the Anson County Commissioners were presented the list of unpaved roads the state wanted to pave, one of them had the good sense to ask why the state wanted to pave McAllister Farm Road when it didn't even have any houses on it.
When the state wants to hand out money, it is rare that anyone turns it down, and that road, while sparsely traveled, at least was not a dead end road.
Anson County's Bridge to Nowhere is one of many examples of our tax dollars at work. The bridge is at the very end of a dead-end road that is worse than the average farm driveway. There is not a single home or business served by the bridge.
But take a look at the picture (above) of Anson County's Bridge to Nowhere. It shows a bridge at the very end of a dead-end "road" that is worse than your average farm driveway.There is not a single home or business served by the bridge. By all appearances, it was built to permit someone with the right friends at DOT to harvest trees. If you want to see it easily, check out SR 1707 on Anson County's GIS.
At least it didn't cost as much as the amazingly expensive bridges built in Bev Perdue's(and your blogger's) home city, New Bern, and it certainly cost millions less than bridge/overpass over the Neuse and Trent River (Highway 17/70) and was completed in 2000. (left)
There is yet another overpass under construction just west of New Bern designed to serve a planned bridge over the Neuse that may never be built and is hardly a priority compared to projects being postponed, theoretically due to lack of funds.
Anson County's Bridge to Nowhere raises questions, as does the new overpass west of New Bern, but if you really want to get upset, go on Google Earth and take a look at the project currently underway in Pamlico County to widen Highway 55 to 5 lanes. There's no question about that project; 5-laning Highway 55 in Pamlico County is a political boondoggle that makes the money involved in the many recent scandals involving DOT Board Members look like chicken feed.
That's right. DOT is currently constructing a five lane highway from New Bern into a county of barely 13,000 people by widening a road far beyond any rational need.
The project reminds me of Anson's Bridge to Nowhere; east of the bridge there is forest while east of the road lies the Pamlico Sound. Pamlico County has some beautiful scenery, but given the geography of the area, there's no way that road will ever serve as many people as the roads being postponed to divert funds to that project.
People in the Piedmont are told there's so little road money available we must accept toll roads, but there's no mention of putting a toll on that road. There's supposedly not enough money to complete the 485 loop or the Raleigh outer belt, but Pamlico County is getting a five lane road almost to the front door of Cutter Bay. Ah, maybe that explains it.
The developers of River Dunes and Cutter Bay either have the right friends or are incredibly lucky or both. Not only have they managed to achieve a near monopoly on sewer capacity in Pamlico County, they've managed to move one of the poorest and most sparsely populated areas in the state to the head of the line for a major road widening project.
The people of Pamlico County certainly deserve help from Raleigh, but what they need most is help cleaning up the mess created using state funds to benefit the well-connected at the expense of the longtime residents of Pamlico County. Millions of dollars of federal and state funds have been spent, supposedly to improve water quality, but it seems there might have been a hidden agenda.
Money to serve unsewered communities was spent extending sewer service to an area that had soil well suited to septic systems, and recent tests suggest that was money wasted. But by using sewer capacity to provide sewer service to existing residents served by septic, and by siting a large prison there that used up even more capacity, the overall availability of sewage treatment capacity was depleted giving certain developers a near monopoly on new development.
What the people of the rest of the state need is an explanation of how Marc Basnightand his Appropriations Committee Chairmen, including Bev Perdue, Kay Hagan and Walter Dalton, have managed to divert so much money from the high population areas of the Piedmont that are choking on traffic to Marc's sparsely settled corner of the state.
Better yet, how about an explanation of how so many of the papers that theoretically serve the people of Charlotte or Raleigh or Union County or the other places that have just flat been robbed have managed to so completely miss the story.
Dumb or dishonest? You choose.
Jim Black was a sideshow. The main event was in the Senate.
If you agree, please share this information as widely as possible. Very few people who live in the Piedmont even know that while they're stuck in horrendous traffic jams, a five lane road is being built in Pamlico County, a county of barely 13,000 that doesn't even have a car dealer. While counties with populations many, many times as large are told there is no money available to fix problems that are killing people, the insiders continue to spend freely on their pet projects, secure in the knowledge that (given the media bias that has protected them for years) there's little chance the public will figure out who is getting rich by mismanaging state government.
Fern Shubert is a former State Representative, State Senator, Town Manager and Candidate for Governor. She currently serves as the NC State Director of the National Right to Read Foundation. She also writes a weekly column for the County Edge newspaper and has been a regular contributor to Katy's Conservative Corner.
Your blogger has always disliked the replacement bridge over the Trent and Neuse Rivers in New Bern. They have "uglified" New Bern's previously beautiful waterfront and made a joke of civil engineering. The charm of traveling though the state's second-oldest town, and former state capitol, has been lost.
Thankfully, KCC has posters and photos hanging in her home office, reminding her of her New Bern's formerly beautiful rivers. She's always blamed Perdue and her cronies for ruining the beauty of the place your blogger used to sail, hydro-slide, and water ski.
Your blogger underlined words for emphasis, not the writer.