The city of Springfield wants voters to re-authorize a 1/8th cent sales tax for the city of Springfield for transportation projects, and it’s not afraid to spend transportation dollars to influence voters to do so.
Signs like this one have cropped up around town to promise voters what they’ll do if they’re elected:
That is, with the monies this tax would bring in, they’ll widen the bridge on Republic Road (although officially, I guess, it’s Republic Street). Anyone who travels Republic Road knows it bottlenecks from four lanes to two at the bridges over the James River Freeway. So this is a project worth doing.
The other place it bottlenecks is between Golden and Scenic. Now that this area is more firmly Springfield proper as it annexes its way to the sweet, sweet sales tax at the new Walmart Neighborhood Market, Springfield officials want to make sure people can get there. Again, probably a good road project.
Like so many other projects Springfield and MODoT are planning.
Springfield and MODoT are spending money in a political campaign when they create signs promising things to voters if they vote one way, such as they are with these signs and others of the like. Assuming the tax passes (on the August ballot, not on the November ballot, which would see a lot of people coming out to vote against Obama and, probably, against any taxes on the ballot at the time).
There’s a mighty thin line between informing voters and citizens and seeking to influence citizens, and I think these signs fall into the unseemly latter. The government entities are using tax money not to build roads, but to seek more tax money. We ought to recognize and deplore the effort.
Also, let’s not let the city of Springfield and MODoT off the hook for the nearly $4,000,000 they could have spent on roadway improvements that they spent instead on Public Service Announcement delivery systems. When voters approve taxes, it allows government entities to skew their priorities to silly projects.