Ranger Rick: Are we wasting money on a ‘road to nowhere?

The economy is boomingRanger Rick Art_7_0_0! That’s what we keep hearing. Stock market climbing! What’s the problem? Where are the jobs?

Unemployment is higher than what is reported by the government, according to a new Gallup snapshot of the unemployment numbers – these are a compilation of all of the folks out of work, not just those collecting an unemployment check. The stock market is climbing, but not because of much domestic growth or dollars – it is being infused by overseas money from Europe and the Far East/Pacific Rim because their economies are poor or failing.

As I always tell the editor, money goes where it is treated best (where an ROI – return on investment, happens). The only place where an investment makes money at this time is in the American stock market. The exploding debt crisis in this and other countries is weighing heavily on their respective citizens. This crushing debt will affect all of us soon enough. The middle class has become the working poor.

Back to basic economics, there are four ways to spend money:

• Spend my money on me.

• Spend my money on other.

• Spend others money on me.

• Spend others money on others.

Where do you think the government falls in the four scenarios above? If you said #4, you’d be right. The government is beholden to no one and it spends your money on their pet projects. Any time you hear of the President or Secretary of State declare the United States is giving 50 billion dollars to another country for whatever reason – that is our money.

Others spending money on others – no control or review is done on the validity of the expenditure. Another way of looking at it, if Michigan were given even 10 billion of the 50 billion, our road situation would be fully funded for improvement.

On a smaller scale, let’s examine the “Road to Nowhere.” The Wayland City Council voted, if memory serves me correctly, 5 in favor, 2 against, to approve a meeting for discussion on the issue of applying for grant money to pave the interurban tracks from Dahlia Street to 133rd Avenue. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I will comment that this will be passed and the interurban project applied for the grant.

Then the real work begins. Who really paid for it? Well, how it’s being explained, the city will kick in $125,000 and evidently the rest will come from the grant. Where does that money come from – Santa Claus? Who will pay for the upkeep and repair? What about lighting? What about patrolling the trail so motorized vehicles will not be used on it like it is used now?

Have any of the areas that now have this type of trail going through their city find that business picked up because of its existence? That is what is being claimed by supporters – has that been investigated and verified? I would think that would be a nice statistic to know.

Also, how much maintenance cost has been generated by the trail? Have there been any incidents of unlawful activity on their trail?

This is a #4 example of spending – the money to be used will come from taxes – it is cleverly disguised as a “grant.” To be spent on a trail to nowhere. With all the problems the city has with finances and road repair, and this is the best effort, the best idea the City Council can come up with? If such is the case, we are in deeper trouble than I even imagined.

I have an idea whose time has come. Why doesn’t the City Council contact all townships, towns, cities within the interurban right of way with the idea of paving it for all the things they think will happen good because of it and maybe there could be cooperation to proceed. Then it wouldn’t just be a “Road to Nowhere.”

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