The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

September 17, 2012

Your View: Roundaboutitis?

WEBB CITY, Mo. — In the Sept. 1 edition of The Joplin Globe, Wally Kennedy wrote about Missouri Department of Transportation possibly suffering from “roundaboutitis.” I think it’s a good question. The roundabout that is to be installed at the intersection of Highways 43 and 96 provides a good example.

According to MoDOT, the prime contractor is APAC-Missouri of Columbia and doing the work for a bid amount of $860,000. While this intersection has been the scene of serious accidents in the past, and MoDOT has modified the intersection over the years, this intersection has not been a four-way stop in the past 30 years, if ever. It was at one time a four-way flashing yellow light, then changed (maybe 15-20 years ago) to a flashing yellow light for the north/south traffic on 43 with stop signs and a flashing red light for the east/west traffic on 96. The intersection has been further modified over the years to include access lanes with yield signs (similar to interstate access ramps), additional warning signs and rumble strips.

The expenditure of $860,000 of taxpayers’ money to address a problem that could have been corrected by installing stop signs and red flashing lights for all traffic (a four-way stop), seems to be not only a fine example of “roundaboutitis,” but also one of fiscal “spendthriftiness.” The MoDOT representative with whom I spoke said that there was no public forum conducted for input, yet this is taxpayers’ money that is being spent.

Whether the tax dollars are from state or federal assessments is immaterial. The money is still from tax dollars and deficit spending cannot be addressed by spending more when less would suffice.

Jim Whitford

Webb City

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