Word of caution on turnpike merger
I see from news reports that the bill to put the secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation in charge of the Kansas Turnpike Authority is in its final stages. As former KTA chief engineer and manager, I want to throw out a word of caution to Kansas legislators and the KTA board.
Drivers who pay a toll expect more from the toll road than a tax-supported road because the payment is so closely associated with the service.
If tolls go up because toll funds are being diverted and the road gets too rough, many users will look for alternate routes. Not only will turnpike revenue decrease accordingly, but traffic on non-toll roads will increase. Pressure eventually will mount on the elected officials to remove the tolls altogether. Losing toll revenues and taking on additional lane miles at a time when supplemental funding for highway needs is at its peak would be turning a golden egg into a plain old goose egg.
When I was growing up, there was a teakettle in our house with a lid that did not fit tightly. When the water became hot and started steaming, that lid would shake and rattle and make a terrible noise. Of course, the lid was doing no good. In fact, it was allowing the steam to escape, but it made quite a racket and impressed you as being very busy and very important.
I still remember that teakettle whenever I listen to some of our congressmen as they do the same thing. I say to myself, “That one has a loose lid.”
Bad news traveled
I lived in Wichita from 1982 until 2011 before retiring from Wichita State University. How disappointing it was to turn on my local news Friday. Rather than see them talking about the great victory for the Shockers over La Salle, all I saw was a report about some fighting at a rap concert at Club Rodeo.
When that sort of negative news makes it way all the way to the southeast coast of South Carolina, it doesn’t give a good impression of Wichita – which seems to have an excessive amount of violent outbreaks at certain establishments.
I guess bad news travels faster than good news, but what a black eye on what used to be a great all-American city.
Myrtle Beach, S.C.