To The Editor:
When will our federal, state and local governments decide to be fiscally responsible? When will we spend for necessary projects and not just because we can get money from the federal government?
The enhancement program for Main Street in Union is a farce. The motto must have been we can soak the taxpayer by getting federal funds for the project so let’s enhance Main Street. My question is why was it done?
I don’t know of any special incentives to lure businesses or services to the downtown area and while such projects provide some short-term jobs and the street gets an overlay and some sewer work, the enhancement itself was not a necessary life or death project.
According to data in The Missourian the first phase of the project used almost $500,000 in federal funds and $100,000 in local funds for said project and the streetscape portion is $310,515 of federal funds with a local match of over $100,000. With the very real needs we have in our community with job losses, the Union Food Pantry needs, the Humane Society needs, just to name a few; how can any one justify a feel good, look good project, even if the money is available from the federal government?
As a shop owner in downtown Union, I objected to the project since it cuts down on the number of parking spots for customers and while it is alleged that several studies showed parking as ample, I question who was asked about parking needs because I often have to walk several blocks for a place to park.
One of the early arguments for this project was that it was difficult to turn on to Main Street from side streets and these bump outs would help that issue. A lot cheaper solution to the problem would have been to put in four-way stops at all streets along Main, thereby making it safer to turn on to Main. Main would also be safer for pedestrians with four-way stops, plus it would slow down drivers who think that they need to reach 30 to 40 mph by the time they reach the White Rose after turning on to Main from Washington.
Governments seem to want to spend, spend, spend with little or no thought to what the real cost is going to be. I think everyone should ask the question, “Would I spend this money if I personally had to pay the bill?” We all know that in most cases the answer would be no.
Guess what, you are going to pay this bill through your tax dollars. If we don’t question how they spend our tax dollars, we have no one to blame but ourselves if our standard of living continues to go down.