This time, our white knight is State Representative Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) — and according to his recent op-ed, we should all be thanking him. For those who don’t know Rep. Hottinger, he is the Chair of the powerful Finance and Appropriations Committee.
Finally, the expansion of State Route 161, combined with the upgraded interchange at Interstate 270 and Sunbury Road, will improve the daily commute for the thousands of Licking County residents who travel to and from jobs in Franklin County every day. If the average driver can save 25 minutes of travel time a day through fewer traffic accidents and less congestion that is just over 2 hours a week of additional time with their family or at work, and that many fewer hours of driving and gasoline usage. When you consider the thousands of people every day that travel this route the benefits are staggering.
Staggering indeed Rep. Hottinger.
Here’s what I think is staggering…
1) I think it’s staggering that we spent $160 million to shave 7 minutes off of drivers’ commutes. I also think it was sly how you worded the time savings by saying, “If the average driver can save 25 minutes of travel time a day”. Hypotheticals definitely help bolster your case. The facts? Not so much.
2) I think it’s staggering that only 5 months ago, you were stimied about how to pay for State Highway Patrol Officers. Do you think that giving them more large highways to patrol will help?
3) I think it’s even more staggering that only 1 month ago, you listed the following as one of the key problems plaguing our country…
As a nation we face the continued problem of relying on energy from a portion of the world unfriendly to America.
I agree that this is a problem, but what kind of message does our obsession with expanding highways send to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, or Ahmadinejad in Iran? You may talk tough about our addiction to oil, and about how our petro dollars fund “unfriendliness”, but how are we supposed to break the habit if we keep making it easier to drive?