Commentary: Use the alternative design for bridge

I would like to say my county supervisor has stopped by my home on Rockland Road and asked my input regarding the Morgan’s Ford Bridge — or for that matter any issue in the county — but that has not happened. I’ve met Congressman Bob Goodlatte more often in Rockland than my neighbor and county supervisor. I asked my neighbors if they have ever had our supervisor stop by and ask their opinion and they said the same thing … no.

I attended the meeting a=about the bridge at the fire house and was surprised to find over 20 Virginia Department of Transportation workers there. I asked a VDOT supervisor from Richmond why so many of his employees, was this a good use of taxpayer money or was this intended to intimidate. All he would say was he was just supporting the bridge project. In my opinion, this was a sham and done deal.

When someone goes out of his way with such a strong opinion on any issue, I ask myself, “Does he/she have a vested interest?” I haven’t been able to come up with anything other than my county supervisor has been a rubber stamp for large county spending projects. My supervisor was a strong supporter of the new regional jail and how has that turned out? A prime piece of real estate that will never generate any tax revenue, and if he had waited two years he could have had an almost free one from the state located near Double Tollgate. The jail superintendent didn’t last a year and they still have staffing problems. Our local supervisor also blamed the bridge for several bad accidents … not sure how something that doesn’t move could have caused the accidents. If you don’t pay attention while driving on our new bridge, then accidents will happen there as well.

My supervisor rubber-stamped expanding Leach Run Parkway. For those of us who have traveled Route 55 in the early morning or late afternoon, that’s all we need is more traffic and congestion on that road. Instead of working tirelessly for 20 years to replace a landmark, maybe he should have worked harder on a better solution and that would be a new interchange off of Interstate 66 near Christendom College. Nobody is arguing that we do not need a new bridge, but why spend millions more dollars when a safe alternative does the same thing for less money.

Our supervisor is in favor of a new hospital off of the new connector road in a congested area. Fairfax and Loudoun counties are building new hospitals on major highways so everyone can have easy access, but I guess he knows better than his counterparts in those counties. My point is his terrible decision making. He forgets how the state gets its money and that is through raising tax dollars. I appreciate all of the county supervisors volunteering their time, but there is more to being a supervisor than just saying yes to any spending project that the county administrator puts before them.

Just a thought — what if we build the less expensive bridge and take the money saved from the more expensive bridge and build an indoor swimming pool, another outdoor pool and a rock climbing wall for kids? That would be an accomplishment everyone in the county could enjoy.

James Harper is a Warren County resident.