LETTER: Roundabout, rest area plans are no good

Dear Editor:

Well, here we go again. Did you know that while you slept, your State Representative Brian Blake slipped the infamous Roundabout into the DOT budget. He also attempted to get $1.8 million approved for the Rest Area, but that was denied. Thank you Mr. Blake for denying the local residents’ wishes and allowing Mayor Vini to proceed with her nonsense. $550,000 for something the local residents didn’t want and a total waste of taxpayer money. Why not use that money to repair a bridge or fund a real need?

On February 16, 2018 three of us met with DOT to find out what was happening regarding the “Traffic Revision” given that a “Compact Roundabout” was approved in the DOT budget. We were told that DOT had very little say in the project since it was a City of Montesano project. DOT’s role in the process is to approve or disapprove the project based solely on the technical aspects of the project. (It should be noted that they did not plan on any changes for that offramp.)

I talked with Mr. Blake by phone after that meeting and discussed his motives for getting the funding. He stated that he didn’t think the Roundabout was the answer, but some sort of revision was needed. Hence, the “Traffic Revision” rhetoric was born.

There was an item on the February 27th City Council agenda regarding the Traffic Revision so I attended and urged Council to invite a representative from DOT down to explain the ins and outs of the project prior to taking action. Council is relying on information provided by Mayor Vini and she insists that DOT is in charge of the project and the City has very little say. Somebody is confused and I don’t think it’s DOT. However, all but two Council members voted to allow the Mayor to spend $122,000 for design and engineering. Thank you Mr. Wood and Mr. Hatley for showing some common sense and voting no!

People, you need to wake up and make some noise. There is little doubt that Representative Brian Blake is going to do everything in his power to assist Mayor Vini in her quest to get her Rest Area. If that were to occur, it would be the biggest boondoggle ever. The mayor is basing her economic development on increasing the sales tax revenue. The City gets 2 cents on every taxable dollar. It will cost approximately $60,000 annually for maintenance of the Rest Area. In order to cover that cost the City would need to increase current sales by $3 million annually. That works out to $8,219 daily, every day of the year in additional sales. That is to just cover the maintenance costs and other indirect costs are also anticipated. How does this make any sense?

Something else that doesn’t make sense is that the justification for the “Traffic Revision” is because of the anticipated increase in traffic generated by the Rest Area. Go figure!

Doug Iverson

Montesano