Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Underground Conservative Part II

After a few trips to the new place, I got comfortable enough with the route that I was able to look around a bit. I will have to say that Milwaukee is like any other large city. There are good things (the Milwaukee Art Museum, Miller Park, Meier Festival Park) and bad (high crime, run down neighborhoods). In general though, I have been in worse places.

As I was looking around, a sign caught my eye...

Intrigued by the fact that this is the first evidence of the projects that were sponsored by the stimulus plan that I have seen, I had to stop and see what was going on. I was a little shocked at first because this project was on a small, 6 block street that is right along the Milwaukee River. It is a relatively quiet (Locust Street is a fairly major road) residential street. The more I looked around, the odder it was. Yes, it was a nice area, but not really a major area that would benefit from a project paid for by federal money. As I wandered down to the area that was worked on, I saw another strange sight...

The project seemed to be a cistern of some sort. It went down at least 100 feet and ended with water at the bottom. Based on the proximity to the river, I can only assume that the plan for whatever this is is for it to connect to the river for some purpose.

Yes, I do not know what the details are for this project. No, I do not know how much stimulus money went into this. What I do know is that federal money was spent to make a very large hole in a street in the city of Milwaukee. I also know that I have not seen any activity around this hole for several days. There could also be a good reason for this.

It all makes me wonder though...How many other stimulus projects were of minor importance and not finished? How many other half finished construction projects are there throughout the country? Is this what we can expect for the next few years? Now I'm sure that all of my naysayers will scream, "You don't know anything about it! You don't know it's importance!" True. I did just say that. If it turns out that this is a solution to MMSD having to pump sewage into the lake anytime they get a minor rainstorm, then I am all for it no matter what the cost. I do plan on investigating this further in the next few days, however.

I do believe that what I find will be a very well argued point on why we needed to spend money we don't have on this. However, it will probably be nothing more than a wish list project that got approved in a cash grab. No more important than the ghost train that will be running from Milwaukee to Madison. Are there projects out there that are deserving of this money that need to be done? Sure. I have no doubt about that. Did any of those projects get set aside for piddly little things like this? I have no doubt.

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