Saturday, August 31, 2019

New Verb in my Vocabulary

I learned a new verb today - to storrow. "To storrow" is to drive your truck into a low overhead obstruction. The term was originated in Boston where this type of accident is common to drivers unfamiliar with the city and then try to drive box trucks on Storrow Drive. One web site has a collection of photographs from these accidents and it is amusing to see the results of driver idiocy. The link to the site is here.

I was a student in Boston for 5 years and I hated driving there. The streets are not laid out in typical block fashion and nothing meets at a right angle. Storrow Drive is a main thoroughfare that runs along the Charles River and is heavily travelled by folks heading into Boston and Cambridge. If you are heading to Boston, don't drive a large truck on Storrow Drive.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

More on Tolls

A commenter on my last post told about the State of Connecticut wanting to impose tolls on almost every road and bridge in order to generate revenue. Fuel tax revenue for state are in the decline. Louisiana went from a high of $762 million in 2006 to $589 million in 2014. The state tried to increase the gas tax by $0.16 last session taking the state from one of the lowest fuel taxes to one of the highest. It failed miserably.

There are a couple of reasons for this decrease. One is the federal governments regulation on automobile mileage. The CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) has been slowly adjusted resulting in people driving cars with higher gas mileage. The unintended consequence is that less gas purchased means less tax revenue. One of the reasons given for putting a toll on our bridge was the failure of the gas tax increase. All states are feeling this pinch and it will only get worse with electric automobiles and the Green New Deal.

Another thing that makes tolls so attractive is the technology. Gone are the days of manned booths and baskets that you toss your change into. It's done with electronic transponders and license plate readers. All they need to do is install a goal post over the highway and install some readers. There are private companies that offer to do this for free for a cut of the revenue.

And there has been talk about putting trackers on automobiles and taxing you by the miles you drive. This intrusion into your personal business should scare the crap out of you. But it is coming if the wrong people get into power.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Local Swamps Toll Revolt

While President Trump is promoting Public Private Partnerships as a way to fund infrastructure repair and replacement, the local populations are saying something different.

We have our own local issue with the plans for a new toll bridge but it seems that we are not alone. Over in Mobile there are plans for a new 6 lane toll bridge over Mobile Bay to relieve traffic jams through the existing tunnel and causeway. The toll is planned to be $6 each way. While this route is used by weekenders from Louisiana and Mississippi heading to the Flora-Bama beaches, it is also used by commuters to and from Mobile. Indeed, my grandson crossed the bay every day to go to college. The backlash is so fierce that the politicians have taken the project off of the state transportation plan which could effectively kill it.

When they were collecting public comments for our planned toll bridge, I called the toll a tax directed at the people of the parish. In their response, they corrected me that it was not a tax but a "user fee". Potato, Potaato. People are tired of the government taking money out of their pockets.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

On My "To Do" List

I need to try to get this place. I can combines wine and aviation history.

Link is here.

Local Swamp - Alligators, Oh my

Since I last checked in with a status, we (the No Tolls Bunch) have met with the Parish President, several council people, our state rep and state senator to discuss the response to the bridge proposal. I am happy to say that we must have had some influence as out Parish President, not know for having political cojones, has sent a rather direct letter stating that the Parish did not support the proposal as presented due to the tolls and their impact on the economy of the Parish. We now await the response from the DOTD.

In related news, I was always concerned that the private party of the Public Private Partnership did not have a contractors license as they are primarily a financial company even though published organization charts showed them in control of all subcontractors. I expressed this concern to the Licensing Board and expected a quick answer that all was OK because,..... but that didn't happen. Crickets were chirping. Seems like there is a little conflict in the Louisiana Statutes and the DOTD took it upon themselves to interpret them in the DOTDs favor. The issue is subtle but we all know that the law rests upon the details and as this is the very first PPP the details have not yet been tested. This went far enough to elicit a formal letter of explanation from the DOTD to the Licensing Board.

In a nutshell, one regulation says that any entity managing a construction project in any manner shall be licensed. Another regulation, written to allow "design-build" contracts, allows the project manager to use the license of a subcontractor. My opinion is that the law for these design-build contracts meant for the project to be managed by the DOTD and its staff of technical professionals. There is a third regulation dealing with Public Private Partnerships and allowing the DOTD to enter into a PPP. The DOTD feels that, even though their contract is with a non licensed private party, it's OK because it is a design-build contract. But the private party , unlike the DOTD, has no technical staff.

I am still trying to decide my next move. Any contract lawyers out there?

Monday, August 12, 2019

Book Review - A Dangerous Man

Robert Crais has done it again! Joe Pike is having a peaceful day and running errands at the bank when he observes a kidnapping in broad daylight. He puts down the perps and saves the lady and he thought that was it. A few days later he gats a message from the girl that the perps had made bail and she was concerned. Then she disappeared. This led Joe and Elvis on a fast paced search for the missing that will keep you glued to the chair. Very hard to put down, the story switches between the points of view of Joe, Elvis and the bad guys. Another good story for long flights and insomniacs.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Gun Confiscation Hysteria

Given recent events and the typical calls from the liberals, I post this link to an older post. As with most things, you have to do the math.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Head Count

KSA added 18 heads to the count for a total now of 133. Two of those heads were from child rapists and the rest were the usual mix of druggies and murderers.

Remember this number when the libs start complaining about our own federal executions.