Pandora's Box Sprung Wide Open

RECEIVED Wed., April 27, 2011

Dear Editor,
    I just Googled "Downtown Austin Plan." This is scheduled to be formally approved in June. The city has been packing conference rooms with consultants, planners, facilitators, and bureaucrats since 2001 to put together this behemoth. Lurking in the background, of course, are the contractors who stand to make $300 million in taxpayer dollars. You can envision years of endless construction, ripping up streets, widening sidewalks, planting trees, building underground drainage systems, laying down rail tracks, etc.
    This will lead to incalculable mountains of paper to generate contracts and backup materials to be shuffled around the labyrinth of various city offices until they land on the City Council dais. Every Thursday between now and 2021, the cash registers at City Hall will ring up the millions, tens of millions, and ultimately hundreds of millions of taxpayer charges to keep the contracts churning.
    Meanwhile, frustrated citizens in multiple historic neighborhoods will continuously be dialing 311 and begging for long overdue repairs to 40-, 50-, and 60-year-old water, gas, and sewer lines that endanger their health and safety.
Bill Oakey
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