The Turnpike Authority apparently wants to build the last two portions of the Outer Loop as toll roads (News and Observer, 11/28/05).
Here’s an alternative. Put a tollbooth in front of Mayor Meeker’s Convention Center. Then put another one in front of the Exploris Museum (which is showing the new Harry Potter movie to fulfill its non-profit mission to promote international understanding).
Use the tolls to pay for the Convention Center, the new downtown hotel and the Museum. And take the $200 million City Council and the County Commissioners are spending on those things and use it to complete the Outer Loop.
Crazy, you say? Well, yes. But is it any crazier than building the Convention Center or giving $500,000 (more) to Exploris when we can’t afford to build the Outer Loop?
Unfortunately, the folks who want the Hotel and Convention Center and the Exploris Museum are working full time to keep taxpayers’ money flowing in their direction – and the folks who will be paying those tolls – by and large – aren’t.
So, the Convention Center’s getting built, the Hotel is on track, and Exploris is happy (because it just got another $500,000 from the County Commissioners) and the Outer Loop is on hold until 2012 – unless it’s a toll road.