Monday, May 14, 2012

Transportation Project Opponents Rely on Similar Tropes Throughout History

On this 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, John King from the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a piece about naysayers of some of the Nation's most iconic infrastructure projects.

Source: Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.

He writes:
Critics depicted the bridge as financially unsound, legally dubious, an aesthetic blight and an engineering hazard in the decade before the start of construction in 1933. The battle was most fierce in the fall of 1930, when voters in six counties were asked to allow $35 million in bond sales for construction. 
We know the outcome: one of the few structures in California that genuinely deserves to be called an icon. But, on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the span's completion, a look back at the fight shows how little has changed in terms of the attacks that are aimed at major alterations to the landscape - and the difficulty that one generation has in predicting how future generations might choose to live and the values they might hold.
Source: Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.

The arguments against the Golden Gate Bridge are similar to naysayer arguments of the Honolulu rail transit project today.  Classic arguements include complaints by armchair experts about the structure, questioning the integrity of project consultants, the need for more studies, and challenging the project's financial plans.

Read Mr. King's entire editorial at Golden Gate Bridge construction - and indignation, San Francisco Chronicle, May 13, 2012.

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