Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How Long is "Phase 1"? How about 20 Years.

You heard right. I promised to follow up on my previous mention of the HRT/Virginia Beach/VDOT meeting on "alternative assessment" studies for continuing the Norfolk Tide light rail into Virginia Beach. If you can't sleep, here's the link.

The "alternatives" described are/were: Dedicated bus lanes. Light Rail. Additional Regular (e.g. "crappy") Bus and Shuttle services and staring into a mirror and beating off (while holding a colorful HRT brochure, of course). There would probably be a special tax applied to sploogery and subsequent cleaning up.

The speaker went into painful politi-speak on the mundane procedural processes (yes, I know I just hit you with a double-redundancy.... again), and where "we" were in that impressive workflow flow chart they showed. Oh, and I should mention that they did not get the memo on avoiding excessive use of Microsoft Powerpoint. So, they laid out like 8 steps, and reiterated repeatedly (another intentional redundancy. Are you paying attention?) that "we" were (are) at step 1. Followed by an awkward silly giggle. I almost busted out in hysterical laughter. How obvious.

THEN...

He delved into some background on this whole shindig. Mentioning previous studies done in 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2004. All of course paid for by Federal DOT tax funds and paid to overly exhuberant consultants, who studied and analyzed and studied and analyzed, and then studied the analysis. Then they analyzed the studies. And guess what? They determined we needed some enhancements to our transportation system. That resulted in an "assessment" of the need to identify "alternatives". That led to the current step: "alternative assessment studies".

So, essentially, 1996 to 2009 is all part of "phase 1".

Doesn't that make you feel good? And you thought they wasted your tax money. You silly idiot.

We don't need Welfare. We have Federal funding programs and armies of cheap suit-wearing consultants who now how to speak MBA and rattle off acronyms and codes and statutes and policies and, well, whatever.

At this rate, considering "phase 2" may take at least several years (if not longer - if it is ever completed), getting to step 8 (construction and ongoing management) will be like 2020 or 2025 at the earliest. That gives Al Qeada plenty of time to work on their plans to hit us anywhere along any of the plethora (I love that word) of choke points strewn throughout our incapable transportation "system". The good news is that just by our knowing of this potential weakness, we give rise to security and infrastructure consultants, who will no doubt file for additional Federally-funded studies on what to do about this. Maybe I should have just taken the HRT brochures and beat off in front of the Powerpoint demo. That would have at least provided more entertainment than Mr. Monotone blabbering on about "Federal policy XYZ.1234.45166.ABC".
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