Monday, February 11, 2008

Highway Heresy

Lynn Law of Bella Vista must not have gotten the memo. He has a Letter to the Editor of the Benton County Daily Record today, headed "Money for Bypass Should Come from Big Business." He goes on to say that since the trucks of Wal-Mart, Tyson, and J.B. Hunt are causing the congestion on the highways in our area, they should contribute to the cost of a bypass around Bella Vista and down to Lowell. Don't count on it.

Mr. Law has a very good point, but he is too late in the asking. The Northwest Arkansas Council of Corporations and Wealthy Business Executives has another plan that will place that burden on average citizens and working families. They want to create a new bureaucracy called the Regional Mobility Authority with the power of eminent domain and the collection of additional sales taxes to fund their own transportation priorities. The Benton County Quorum Court has already snapped to and approved participation in their scheme. The Washington County Quorum Court will vote this week whether to join in this effort to propose taxes on its constituents to build the Bella Vista Bypass.

This is what we have come to expect from our local "leaders." Businesses want more roads, so they get the taxpayers to foot the bill for solving the problems they have created. That's why Jeff Koenig and the Chamber of Cowbirds fought so hard to keep developers from having to pay road impact fees that would have addressed the traffic congestion created by their new construction. That's why Dan Coody pushed the sales tax on everyone to build new access roads for retailers out by the mall. They have abandoned the proposition that growth should pay for itself and decided to let you pay for it instead.

It is doubtful that we can stop our local elected officials from doing whatever the Cowbirds and the unelected Northwest Arkansas Council demand. We can ignore their massive propaganda campaigns and vote against picking up the tab to pay for their pet projects. We can also elect local government officials who will stand up for the needs of the people instead of seeking personal favor by buffing the boots of the corporate welfare crowd.

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