$30 million to open an existing lane on a bridge?

Most of you have probably never heard of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.  In the San Francisco Bay area, it connects the far-left, granola-chomping-unwashed-dreadlocky-snakey-haired East Bay communities, including Richmond, Oakland and Berkeley, to the far-left, hippie-super-rich-hot-yoga-SUV-driving North Bay communities of Marin County, including San Rafael, Larkspur, and Tiburon just north of San Francisco.

During the afternoon rush hour, traffic frequently backs up. A big part of the reason for the traffic crush is that there are only two lanes in each direction, carried on separate decks of the bridge. But it turns out that the bridge actually has a third lane in each direction that was turned into a shoulder a number of years ago, and finally, because of the traffic problems, the government is talking about turning it back into a traffic lane in the direction that jams up in the evening.

So why am I writing this article? The reason I am is because to take this existing shoulder and turn it back into a traffic lane is going to take the government $30 million dollars and three years.

The price tag for the lane is $30 million.

$30 million dollars? $30 million dollars to turn a shoulder into a lane, which previouslywas already a lane? Has the price of painting dotted lines gone through the roof?

Under the plan discussed Wednesday, however, the traffic lane would not be opened until 2018. While opening the lane may sound simple, under state and federal rules environmental analysis is required. “When you look at the timeline and take a bridge that exists that had a third lane for many years and was used after the 1989 earthquake with a third lane, waiting (until 2018) is really problematic,” Kinsey said. “It’s unacceptable. We can do better than that.”

I should think so. Now we get to the real issue. To satisfy the environmental ayatollahs, we have to wait years and years and get an "environmental analysis". Here's a question for all you smart readers out there:

1) You have a bridge with two lanes eastbound. It used to have three lanes eastbound

2) You expand it so that, once again, it has three lanes eastbound.

3) Roughly the same number of cars go across, only faster.

What possible environmental impact could this have on anything environmental?

Come to think of it, why should a bridge ever need an environmental analysis? Fish are unaffected, they can swim underneath it. Birds, except the blind ones, are also unaffected, they can fly around it. Cars give off some emissions, but we accept that as a cost of having speedy, reliable transportation.  So why do we need costly and time delaying environmental analyses?

Really, there should only be environmental studies when a factory or power plant is being built that produces pollution. Building roads, bridges, shopping centers, and office buildings have minimal effects on the environment, although obviously they affect the quality of life of people who live around them.

The nuttiness doesn't end there.  They could also expand the westbound deck of the bridge to three car lanes from two. Instead, they are turning it into a bike lane (and spending $29 million more). An artist’s rendering created by the Bay Area toll authority shows little more than concrete barriers necessary.

So the next time the leftists cry about the need to spend money on "crumbing bridges and roads", keep in mind that (a) they spend ten times more than is really needed and (b) much of the money supposedly spent on roads is spent on expensive wastes of money like long distance bike paths.

Pedro Gonzales is editor of Newsmachete.com, the conservative news site. Feedback is welcome.

Most of you have probably never heard of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.  In the San Francisco Bay area, it connects the far-left, granola-chomping-unwashed-dreadlocky-snakey-haired East Bay communities, including Richmond, Oakland and Berkeley, to the far-left, hippie-super-rich-hot-yoga-SUV-driving North Bay communities of Marin County, including San Rafael, Larkspur, and Tiburon just north of San Francisco.

During the afternoon rush hour, traffic frequently backs up. A big part of the reason for the traffic crush is that there are only two lanes in each direction, carried on separate decks of the bridge. But it turns out that the bridge actually has a third lane in each direction that was turned into a shoulder a number of years ago, and finally, because of the traffic problems, the government is talking about turning it back into a traffic lane in the direction that jams up in the evening.

So why am I writing this article? The reason I am is because to take this existing shoulder and turn it back into a traffic lane is going to take the government $30 million dollars and three years.

The price tag for the lane is $30 million.

$30 million dollars? $30 million dollars to turn a shoulder into a lane, which previouslywas already a lane? Has the price of painting dotted lines gone through the roof?

Under the plan discussed Wednesday, however, the traffic lane would not be opened until 2018. While opening the lane may sound simple, under state and federal rules environmental analysis is required. “When you look at the timeline and take a bridge that exists that had a third lane for many years and was used after the 1989 earthquake with a third lane, waiting (until 2018) is really problematic,” Kinsey said. “It’s unacceptable. We can do better than that.”

I should think so. Now we get to the real issue. To satisfy the environmental ayatollahs, we have to wait years and years and get an "environmental analysis". Here's a question for all you smart readers out there:

1) You have a bridge with two lanes eastbound. It used to have three lanes eastbound

2) You expand it so that, once again, it has three lanes eastbound.

3) Roughly the same number of cars go across, only faster.

What possible environmental impact could this have on anything environmental?

Come to think of it, why should a bridge ever need an environmental analysis? Fish are unaffected, they can swim underneath it. Birds, except the blind ones, are also unaffected, they can fly around it. Cars give off some emissions, but we accept that as a cost of having speedy, reliable transportation.  So why do we need costly and time delaying environmental analyses?

Really, there should only be environmental studies when a factory or power plant is being built that produces pollution. Building roads, bridges, shopping centers, and office buildings have minimal effects on the environment, although obviously they affect the quality of life of people who live around them.

The nuttiness doesn't end there.  They could also expand the westbound deck of the bridge to three car lanes from two. Instead, they are turning it into a bike lane (and spending $29 million more). An artist’s rendering created by the Bay Area toll authority shows little more than concrete barriers necessary.

So the next time the leftists cry about the need to spend money on "crumbing bridges and roads", keep in mind that (a) they spend ten times more than is really needed and (b) much of the money supposedly spent on roads is spent on expensive wastes of money like long distance bike paths.

Pedro Gonzales is editor of Newsmachete.com, the conservative news site. Feedback is welcome.