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Archive for Sunday, November 22, 1998

S TO PAY?

November 22, 1998

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To the editor:

Sometimes it just pays to read two newspapers.

On Saturday, the Journal-World ran an article (``Case built for projects") bemoaning the fact that at the present time it is unlikely that the state will contribute sufficient funds "to build a wider, safer and development-friendly West Sixth Street." State officials have offered $2 million for the project, a sum far less than the projected $6.5 million (or more) that this planned widening of Sixth Street will cost. The article was one of several in the past week that implied that the widening of this road, which is still officially known as Highway 40 as it runs west of Wakarusa, was a vital concern to all members of the community.

On Sunday, Nov. 16, by contrast, the New York Times ran an article noting that a spate of voter initiatives across the country shared one belief: the desire to halt urban and suburban sprawl. Contrary to the Journal-World's presumption that such developments are necessarily good, American voters seem to have a different impression; in many communities, groups are banding together to purchase farmland to preserve it, a notion that many might presume would be popular in an agricultural state.

Well, the voters of Lawrence and Douglas County did not have an option to vote on whether we want to spend our money to widen Sixth Street/Highway 40. We had no opportunity to express our views about whether we believe it is a good idea to spend millions of dollars to make this area "development friendly." So far we have not had an election to determine if we want to pay higher gasoline taxes to pay for such development, though such a scenario was mentioned in the Journal-World article.

Development might or might not take place along Sixth Street/Highway 40. Some of us might want it to occur, others might not. But I imagine that I am not alone in the belief that all of us should not bear the financial burden of a project that promises to benefit some at the expense of taxpayers, who might need to pay for the road, or downtown businesses, who will lose revenue if their customers shop elsewhere.

Peter C. Mancall,

847 N 1710 Rd.

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