Saturday, July 07, 2007

They could have build their bicycle trails with this much money!

If the world can get any insaner, if that's really a word, the big business mokes pushing the tri-county local option sales tax, Yes to Destiny, are in the running for going from comparative insanity to the superlative.
'Destiny' supporters raise $455,000

Supporters of the proposed "Yes to Destiny" sales tax increase have raised $455,000 over the past six months for a grand total of $770,000 since a political campaign was formed last year to pitch their proposal.

Campaign finance reports filed Thursday show Yes to Destiny has spent more than $402,052 since January to advocate a plan that would raise the Des Moines-area sales tax from 6 cents to 7 cents per dollar.
The Des Moines
One of the big selling points for this regressive tax scheme is the construction of more bicycle trails. There is little analysis on the Internet of the cost of constructing bicycle trails. The only one, and best, I can find on Google is a study posted April 2004 on the American Journal of Public Health's Web site, on bike and pedestrain trails in Linclon, NE. I'll post the abstract of the study:

We estimated the annual cost of bike and pedestrian trails in Lincoln, Neb, using construction and maintenance costs provided by the Department of Parks and Recreation of Nebraska. We obtained the number of users of 5 trails from a 1998 census report. The annual construction cost of each trail was calculated by using 3%, 5%, and 10% discount rates for a period of useful life of 10, 30, and 50 years. The average cost per mile and per user was calculated.

Trail length averaged 3.6 miles (range = 1.6–4.6 miles). Annual cost in 2002 dollars ranged from $25 762 to $248 479 (mean = $124 927; median = $171 064). The cost per mile ranged from $5735 to $54 017 (mean = $35 355; median = $37 994). The annual cost per user was $235 (range = $83–$592), whereas per capita annual medical cost of inactivity was $622.

Construction of trails fits a wide range of budgets and may be a viable health amenity for most communities. To increase trail cost-effectiveness, efforts to decrease cost and increase the number of users should be considered.

That $770,000 would go a long way to building and extending bicycle trails in central Iowa, even in 2007 dollars. But how did "our" civic leaders spend part of the money raised? Again The Des Moines Register:
"Yes to Destiny" supporters have spent more than $357,250 on consultants in the past six months, an amount that includes $194,511 to a California company that worked on a controversial election flier campaign.

Campaign finance documents made public this week show the Strategy Group, a Pasadena, Calif., direct-mail firm that has worked for such prominent Democratic politicians as Sen. Barak Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Leonard Boswell, will eventually earn $232,530 for its work on the sales tax campaign.
The lion's share of consulting fees goes to Polk County Democratic Party functionaries, though county Republicans get a tidy percentage also.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Spend millions on consultants and expect a good return in campaign contributions. If any contracts to build bike trails are signed, expect the CEOs to contribute again.
Our wealthy leaders need more and more, of course.