Tuesday, October 9, 2007

New Conservative Core Value: Secret Shopping?

Apologies in advance if I've missed it, but why haven't our government-bashing talk radio jocks been ripping the plan to spend more than $23 million in public funds to build that interstate highway interchange to nowhere out at Pabst Farms?

The Pabst Farms planned (sic) community was to include an upscale mega-mall, but no one thought about providing its shoppers with appropriate easy-on-and-off access from the interstate in Western Waukesha County.

(Forget a transit line linking Pabst Farms to downtown Waukesha or points farther away in, gasp, Milwaukee: the deliberately tonied-up Pabst Farms has nothing to do with transit.)

So the state, Waukesha County, the City of Oconomowoc and the then-mall developer rushed forward a plan last month to break ground on the fast-tracked interchange by next spring.

And even though the mall developer bailed out of the Pabst Farm picture a few days ago, the subsidized interchange plan is still on track - - to a now-mallless site that might have a big box store or stores instead.

Does that justify a taxpayer-paid interstate interchange, slapped onto the drawing boards with little public input, or awareness of what it will do to nearby lakes, streams, and underground water reserves?

Talk about big government moving at Warp speed, and in denial at the same time - - the state transportation department had enough fat in its budgets to commit and keep committed more than $20 million, while Waukesha County has pledged $1.75 million and the City of Oconomowoc pledged another $400,000, too.

All this is tax money, mind you: you'd think conservatives on the air and in political organizations would be howling about bloated government throwing subsidies at a private business, but there's been a virtual blackout from the Right on the entire subject (save for the blogger James Widgerson).

I keep expecting to hear from the Waukesha County contingent in the once-visible, anti-tax group Committee for Responsible Government, but I guess it's less interested in cutting taxes and more interested in clipping coupons.

Is this a case of the emperor wearing no clothes, or hiding out in case Brooks Brothers moves in?

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