The Woodlands Version of a Bridge to Nowhere

The Woodlands Version of a Bridge to Nowhere

by John Risher

How do we expect our Federal Government to control spending if we are not willing to do it ourselves right here in our own community?  The reason we have a $1.5 trillion deficit and $14 trillion in accumulated debt at the national level is that we have lost sight of the difference between things we need and things we would like to have.

A case in point is Pastor Bruce Webb’s recent request to the Board of the Woodlands Township for an expenditure of $180,000 to improve the appearance of the pedestrian bridge over Grogan’s Mill Road.  I didn’t see anything in the recent Villager article on the topic to suggest that the bridge had any functional problems, but, rather, he thinks it needs to be improved because it looks like a bridge between the U.S. and Mexico, according to his daughter. He maintains that business in the area will improve if the bridge looks nicer.  Both reasons put forth are wrong in the extreme and subjective at best.

I drove down Grogan’s Mill today to see the bridge for myself and I would suggest that other Woodlands residents do the same.  I have to agree that it will never make the list of architectural wonders of The Woodlands, but I also did not come away feeling that I had somehow been transported to Brownsville, Texas.  As far as promoting business in the area, I doubt the appearance of the bridge is on any businessman’s radar screen. They would be more motivated if the Township Board announced its plans to lower taxes in the community.

To my way of thinking, this recommendation falls into the things we would like to have category, since beautifying a well-functioning bridge isn’t something we need.  Since there are other projects in The Woodlands that are more pressing, we should not divert funds to this request.   I am surprised that our Board didn’t simply refer this request to the staff for future consideration along with all of the other projects vying for funding.  Instead, it appears that the Board Chairman has suggested it be given serious consideration and has had it placed on the 2011 list of capital budget requests.  I thought the 2011 budget had already been approved by the Board, that they had thoughtfully considered all spending recommendations, and set aside funding for those they agreed were needed.  Is this request, somehow, going to be earmarked into the budget after the fact or is it simply being moved to the top of the list at the expense of other more worthy projects?  I do not fault Pastor Bruce for asking, but I hope for more out of my elected officials in determining the merits of the request.  If they decide at their next meeting to approve this expenditure, I wonder if my Village Association will decide to put forward its wish list of beautification project.  Maybe we need a Bridge to Nowhere as well.

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