Why we need experts to fix our infrastructure and growth problems
Thank You, Kevin Miller, for having ACHD Commissioner Kent Goldthorpe on your podcast this morning. I believe what we have learned from his comments is that there is no real central planning for road and highway infrastructure when you have the Ada County commissioners as the land use GURUS and the ACHD as the road and highway GURUS. This is one heck of a way to run a state where the right hand has no control over what the left hand is doing. Isn’t it time that we get serious about this growth problem and hire an urban planning group with no political affiliation that can develop a long term plan and make decisions independently of political influences. We need independents to help make decisions on future housing and business growth along with future needs for road infrastructure. Diana Lachiondo and Kendra Kenyon certainly have decent backgrounds educationally and dealing with community problems but there is nothing in either of their resumes that tells me they should be planning the future growth of a county as large as Ada.
The population of Ada country is rapidly moving up to the half a million mark with a growth rate of almost 3% for the past 3 years. These are no conditions to have elected officials making the kinds of long term planning decisions for the future of the largest county. When you do it usually leads to planning that is inefficient, costly and influenced by politically motivated policies instead of planning by motivated independents making pragmatic rational decisions. With politically motivated policies you wind up with inadequate road infrastructure combined with haphazard developments or what we now call complete chaos. We need to take politics out of future planning as we have seen the monster that has been created when the politicians are the ones making these critical decisions. I remember Tommy Ahlquist speaking about the cost of building a mile of road in our state and how he pays a much lower rate per mile than the state of Idaho does. Politicians are always working with developers and contractors for the state that are willing to grease their palms around campaign time in order to receive favored treatment and this must stop.
The other problem with having politicians making these important decisions is they are shaped many times by what the elected officials want and not what the people want who will eventually pay for any mistakes that they make. Idaho is in a boom period with what I would consider unsustainable growth and we need to either slow it down or deal with worse problems in the future. We have two political parties in Idaho neither of which has done a good job of serving the people who elect and pay their salaries. Idaho’s urban areas are changing with the tremendous influx of new out of state residents and that will mean change both good and bad. While the urban areas are becoming influenced by the liberals such as Boise and Ada country we have strong conservative bastions just outside their borders in Canyon, Gem, Payette, and Owyhee counties. These counties make up over 40% of Idaho’s population and will soon control who is elected for the most important constitutional offices in our statehouse.
We are the fastest-growing metro area in the U.S. says Forbes magazine but we run it as if we were still a rural community with crony politicians who have been in charge well beyond their time. We need new people to fill the positions that are currently held by those who have had their hands out politically way too long. While we love to see the hot air balloons fly each year at Ann Morrison Park it would be even nicer to have less hot air and more action by our representatives taking care of our problems which have been mounting for years. Our legislators and governor have been great in giving the public a lot of lip service but have been totally inadequate in helping to solve the growth problems of the Treasure Valley.
If we want to fix the problems of infrastructure and rapid growth we should be enlisting the help of professionals who actually are knowledgeable about these subjects, not rookie politicians who have no expertise in these areas whatsoever.
“We get the Government we deserve”