Tag: Interstate Highway

The proposed Danville, Illinois beltline would be a road to nowhere

danville-beltline
Approximate map of proposed Danville, Illinois Beltline (proposed route is in red and hand-written on a Google Maps printout)

One potential road-building proposal that could receive federal funding from any kind of federal infrastructure bill that could be passed with either Republican or bipartisan support in the Donald Trump era of American politics is an eastern one-quarter beltline highway around the city of Danville, Illinois, which has been proposed for many years:

The originally studied beltline was for a highway to bypass the city on the east side to connect Interstate 74 with Illinois Route 1 north of Danville.

The proposed beltline route, to run parallel to Bowman Avenue but farther east, ran from West Newell Road, hooking south on Bowman Avenue, going east on Poland Road and then turning south through farm fields, east of the railroad tracks east of the airport, stretching south between Daisy Lane and Brewer Road and hooking up with Interstate 74 and Perrysville Road.

The Federal Highway Administration approved construction of a new Interstate 74 interchange between the Bowman and Lynch Road exits years ago.

Some residents have voiced concerns in the past about the beltline’s need and the potential to hurt existing businesses, the impacts on their properties and increased noise and traffic.

It’s possible that U.S. Route 136 (US-136) and/or Illinois Route 1 (IL-1) could be realigned from their current routing in Danville to the new beltline, or, more likely, to a more feasible reconstruction of Bowman Avenue that would involve the construction of overpasses over railroads along the route. If IL-1 is rerouted to Bowman Avenue, it’s not clear how such an alignment of IL-1 would connect to the current IL-1 alignments leading to places like Rossville and Hoopeston to the north and Westville and Georgetown to the south. Another, even less likely, possibility is that part of the proposed beltline connecting to, and north of, Interstate 74 would be built to Interstate Highway standards and become part of an eastern extension of Interstate 72 running from its intersection with Interstate 57 in Champaign, Illinois to Toledo, Ohio via Lafayette, Indiana and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Danville doesn’t really have a high enough population nowadays to support another suburban-type development like what already exists along North Vermilion Street in the northern part of the city or along Lynch Road near the Indiana border. As a result, I don’t think there would be a ton of traffic along the proposed Danville beltline, meaning there probably will not be a lot of economic development opportunity. The proposed Danville beltline could end up being a road to nowhere.

I hope that any new federal infrastructure legislation goes primarily towards rebuilding existing bridges that are crumbling and/or obsolete, not gaudy new highway developments or, even worse, private infrastructure like oil pipelines.

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ENDORSEMENT: Susie Lee for 4th Congressional District of Nevada

As Democratic voters in the 4th Congressional District of Nevada go to the polls today, I’ll take this opportunity to encourage voters in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, which includes the northern part of the Las Vegas metropolitan area, to vote for Susie Lee in the Democratic congressional primary.

While Bernie Sanders has been busy trying to sell former gangster and convicted car thief Lucy Flores to progressives, the truth of the matter is that a majority of general election voters in the 4th Congressional District aren’t going to vote for someone with a felony record. People simply don’t like being represented in Congress by criminals, so a vote for Lucy Flores is effectively a vote for Crescent Hardy, who is nothing more than a right-wing rubber stamp for right-wing Republicans like Paul Ryan and Donald Trump. I’m saying this as someone who voted for Bernie in the Illinois primary.

While there are a total of eight candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, only three of them have a realistic shot of winning the nomination: Lee, Flores, and Ruben Kihuen. Of those three, only Susie Lee is actually a current resident of the 4th Congressional District of Nevada. On the issues, Lee supports building an interstate highway between Las Vegas and Reno (currently, one has to drive through either California or Utah in order to drive between Las Vegas and Reno without having to drive over mostly two-lane roads), and Lee also supports protecting Social Security and Medicare.

Why free tampons in public building restrooms is actually a great idea

I’ll admit that this is an idea that I hadn’t even thought of until I heard about it being proposed in Wisconsin, but Wisconsin State Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) has proposed legislation that, if enacted, would legally require “restroom facilities in buildings owned, leased, or occupied by the state have tampons and sanitary napkins at no charge.” In this case, “state” refers to the State of Wisconsin, and “sanitary napkins” refers to pads.

This prompted the latest right-wing outrage over a progressive idea, with two main arguments against free tampons in public building restrooms. First, the right-wingers are arguing that spending taxpayer money on tampons and pads are…well, a waste of taxpayer money. Second, the right-wingers are arguing that this does nothing to benefit men.

While Sargent’s bill has virtually zero chance of becoming law in Wisconsin with the current, Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Legislature, this is actually a very good idea. For example, many people, including many women, travel on Wisconsin’s Interstate highways on long-distance trips, and making tampons and pads available at Wisconsin rest areas would be of great convenience to women who, for whatever reason, forget to bring their tampons or pads along with them. Also, menstruation is something that men don’t have to deal with, although I’m guessing that most, if not all, women would find it very embarrassing to have to deal with menstruation without a tampon or pad.

This is something that legislators in other states should seriously support.

Indiana Toll Road, privatized by Republicans, files for bankruptcy

The latest example of how privatization schemes have failed the American people comes from Indiana. Specifically, the Indiana Toll Road, which was privatized by Republicans several years ago, has officially filed for bankruptcy:

The company that operates the Indiana Toll Road filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, though Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said in a statement Monday drivers of the route through northern Indiana can expect “business as usual.”

Debt-ridden ITR Commission Co., a spawn of the Spanish-Australian company Cintra-Macquarie, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago in a prepackaged plan to restructure its approximate $6 billion debt.

The company in 2006 paid $3.8 billion for a 75-year lease of the road that runs between the Illinois and Ohio state lines, but the toll revenue failed to meet company expectations.

This is the main reason why I’m opposed to toll roads, especially ones that are leased to a private entity by the state in which they’re located. If the toll road doesn’t get enough traffic, then the company that owns the lease can’t pay the bills, and motorists and taxpayers get the shaft. We need to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, not let it go bankrupt.