Thursday, April 23, 2009

Was it worth the risk??

The risk I'm talking about was relying on the tax payers of Arizona to fund and develop a traffic interchange along Interstate 40 here in Kingman near what is popularly described as Rattlesnake Wash.

I have to admit that I haven't seen any solid reports delivered by any local media outlets (this blog is not an official media site), so all I'm going on is an eyewitness account of the mayor announcing that Rattlesnake Wash was pulled off the ADOT 5 year plan (scroll to the bottom of that link).

If the eyewitness account is true (and I have no reason to believe it is not), then this news is really bad news... but news that was not all that unexpected. For the last year or so all the reports out of the state government was that there is a budget crisis and the state basically has no money (to spend in Mohave County for primarily Mohave County citizens to be more accurate). The federal government promises money in the form of a stimulus package that is given to the state government, and the state government applies that money to projects in the Phoenix area. Really, are you shocked??

I have been supporting both this proposed interchange and another one referred to as Kingman Crossing since I first heard of them (many years now). Both projects would mean opportunity for our community. Both now are severly threatened by all kinds of forces, espeically economic forces.

I ask if it was worth the risk to rely on the state taxpayer because if the news is correct, now there won't be an interchange in 2014 (or thereabouts) that will connect the Interstate to the airport area, or even connect the southeast bench area to an almost finished hospital that is in clear eye shot of the residents that live on that side of town. This was THE project that had the promise of better than retail paying jobs. It was also the project that would have led to more truck stops being built (if that is your bag, baby).

So now what?? Well first, I hope and pray that the reports are false or that someone at ADOT was simply having a bad hair day and today or tomorrow come out to fess up and say 'my bad'.

The state taxpayers just told us 'NO'. Our local risk was relying on the state taxpayer to pick up 70% of the Rattlesnake Wash project. Highly doubtful that the Kingman taxpayer will step in to pick up that portion, and frankly I wasn't too confident that they would pick up the other 30% portion either.

Meanwhile there has been this other deal in the works for some time. A deal that if negotiated correctly would put the onus of risk and financing on some other entity other than the tax payer of Kingman, Mohave County, or Arizona. And that would only be one way to make that project move forward. Another idea all along has been to sell the property on the south side of I40 (the 168 acres that the city of Kingman owns) to a private property owner and use the funds to help pay for projects that will bring growth opportunities, no doubt jobs, and many other benefits to the community.

Kingman and the powers that be have whiffed badly so far on opportunities that would have not saddled the city or its community residents with that much risk. Will it turn around?? Well I think the count is no balls and two strikes at this point. But as any good hitter knows, there is still a chance to hit a home run.

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