Florida Dep’t of Transportation,
attn: Steve Homan,
DOT Palace,
719 S. Woodland Blvd.,
DeLand, FLA 32724.

Dear Sir:

To hand your letter to the DeLand Beacon (summary ‘‘Bureaucrat: Govt does good job, wishes public appreciated us, wants more money’’).

The underlying facts are hardly at dispute: you folks are busy building two new lanes beside the existing S.R. 44 west of town, including a new bridge over the railroad tracks. Then, when that is done, you plan to tear up two perfectly good lanes of existing roadway. The net result, after months of dodging the jersey barriers and ‘‘fines doubled here’’ signs, will be exactly the same two lanes we started with, with a little wiggle to keep drivers alert.

You say that there is no funding to build the third and fourth lanes at this time. Oddly enough, there is funding to tear out what would otherwise be perfectly good third and fourth lanes. At some point in the future, you hope to obtain funding to put back those lanes which you have torn out.

I’m not making this up, you know - someone in your office actually plans this with my money.

Why would DOT expect the public to happily fund such a deal, paying to remove lanes and slow traffic on a state highway? Is it just that we aren’t very bright? We have the bureaucratic equivalent of a Red Queen’s race: you have to spend as fast as you can just to keep up with bureaucratic folly.

Many people still have mental images of DOT projects with people leaning on shovels, slouching on walls, dozing in bull-dozers, and seeking shade. The difference between this mental image of our tax dollars at work and the reality delivered by your department is only this: if they just leaned on shovels for a year, we wouldn’t have the cost of materials. The results are otherwise similar.

Considering that same road, but heading East instead of West, we find the ‘‘kill zone’’ between DeLand and New Smyrna, and particularly that twisty and dangerous stretch between I-4 and S.R. 415. What did DOT widen? Not the bad part, but the straight shot into New Smyrna! Who thought of this, and is he now counting ballots in Palm Beach?

Like so many government PR departments, DOT’s flacks would rather decry the unwillingness of the public to pay for their folly, than to admit that they make mistakes. ‘‘He doesn’t want to pay for it,’’ DOT says of its critic.

Well, you called that one. Do I want to pay for much sound and fury, accomplishing little? Are you people enjoying controlled substances? I work hard for my money, and on my way to work I have to navigate DOT-supplied obstacle courses. You spend my money to make my travel more difficult, to no long-term benefit: should I not at least ask whether some highway engineer eats ‘‘dumb flakes’’ for breakfast?

I am reminded of the infamous British ‘‘Stamp Tax’’ proposal. When the colonies said they would not pay such a thing, the British said they could accept that, but at least pay them for the trouble of printing the stamps! DOT likewise wishes to be paid for their trouble in not improving my travel on S.R. 44. The state collects huge taxes on gasoline (higher now than ever because part is based on the pump price), and the DOT bureaucracy is too big to dump in Boston harbor.

Can you imagine the out-cry from the EPA if we were to try and dump any portion of our bureaucracy in the river?


Tanner Andrews

Posting of this letter is a paid political advertisement provided by Tanner Andrews, P.O. Box 1208, DeLand 32721, independent of any campaign or committee. No candidate has approved this material.

from @(#)fdot0005.txt 1.0 18-Dec-2000

proc with @(#)hmac.ta2 1.1a 01-Jun-2000