2/07/2008

Taxpayers Always Pay for Toll Road Failures

In the end, the taxpayers will pay for the collapse of the Massachusetts “Big Dig” Turnpike Boondoggle - a $15 billion toll road, says the Boston Herald.

After thousands of leaks, billions of dollars in cost overruns, a tunnel ceiling that collapsed and killed a woman and years of investigation, a settlement has been reached for the contractors “gross failures” of the $15 Billion dollar project.

Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff will pay only $407 million. 24 other design firms will pay only $51 million, and taxpayers will pick up the rest of the tab going forward.

Are you listening Gov. Perry and Sen. Kirk Watson?

3 comments:

engineering said...

Interesting blog. Thanks for bringing it up to my attention. Don't you also team up with with corridorwatch.org? I think I seen your emails/comments through them.
gonz.

Redeemer said...

During his tenure as Mayor of Austin, Kirk Watson was able to save the taxpayers of Austin $2160 plus medical help for the officer who killed Charles Whitman on August 1, 1966. This was done after the State of Texas, through it's Workman's Compensation Commission, awarded Houston McCoy, the ex-officer who actually fired the fatal shotgun blast to Whitman, $2160.00 plus medical help.

I had met with Watson and the City Council prior to the award in an effort to get the City of Austin to help a hero of the Tower. I was cut short by Watson who declared he did not want to "air McCoy's dirty laundry" on public access TV. Watson then promised to have his assistants look into helping McCoy. Nothing further came. Phone calls went unanswered. Direct contacts with his aids became hurtles. Time became frozen.

I took the steps to get McCoy a diagnosis for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was done at the VA hospital in Waco. The diagnosis, PTSD, police combat.

I then filed for Social Security as McCoy's representative. That process took over a year and ended up before a Federal Administrative Law Judge in Waco. After arguing against a Psychiatrist, and making the case for McCoy, the decision came back favorable for McCoy. The award for SSI came through and finally offered McCoy and myself some hope in the system.

Then I applied for the Texas Workman's Compensation Award in Austin. The City sent Camille Espey an attorney to the hearing. Ms. Espey argued time limitations and other non-relevant issues to try and block the Commission from granting an award. The Award was granted! We had a licensed Psychologist, a Federal Judge's decision and now the State of Texas on our side. So what happens - the City, under then Mayor Watson, knew they couldn't appeal the decision of the State - so they went after McCoy through a lawsuit in the Travis County Courts. They were willing to sue the hero, for precedence, a tactic used to prevent future and past claimants from pressing a claim. This can be done to anyone.

The issues here with Watson, is that as Mayor, he made empty promises and then ignored the pleas. The City of Austin, through its attorney's, mostly Dana Johnson, fought a small award that had big ramifications for the history of the Tower Tragedy of '66 and the man who put his life on the line that day. The award and all the work I had done for several years (forget the costs), were wiped out through the process that Watson allowed to play out.

I don't regret my decision to help McCoy, he needed it. I don't regret the loss of time and personal expenses to help someone if they truly need help. The VA, Social Security and the State of Texas stamped the case as needing help. Mayor Watson, his attorney's and the Travis County Courts, had different feelings. Their actions were tantamount to a Supreme Court Decision being over turned in a District Court!

Now as Senator, Watson can concentrate on how to deny all the citizens of the great State of Texas to further his political agendas. This Senator has an insatiable appetite for advancing causes he deems worthy, forget his constituants needs, and stay in the game for future personal political ambitions. No matter what the cost is to the individual.

Senator Watson! You owe McCoy and myself an apology! You owe McCoy and his family $2160.00 plus interest and some medical help that was awarded by the State! You owe me the dignity and self respect that this fight cost me through the media, personal relationships and the costs associated with it. You owe all of this because of your inactions which in turn - turned into actions outside of the spotlight you so selfishly crave. Consider this an opportunity to reverse the wrongs done while you were Mayor of Austin. However, also realize, that your inactions, have caused losses that can never be recovered. Your inactions, have had the same effects...as the actions of Whitman on August 1, 1966. The scars will always be there, but the opportunity for redemption on your part is now, not later!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the previous post, I feel sick to my stomach. Watson is not just a greedy snake but a total a-hole. How can you not honor a hero that saved lives? Lives go beyond money. We are forever indebted to this brave officer. Watson's actions should be a top news story. Watson's greed is disgusting but his disrespect is beyond sickening. Spit on him, why don't you, Kirk! I hope all of APD learns of your actions and refuses to protect your house from getting robbed you sick thankless SOB.