Yes, I'm back from a winter in Bradenton, Fl. Drove 1100 miles Thursday to my daughter's home in Edwardsville. She had just returned from Germany after a visit with her son, Bill Greytak , Jr. who was leaving for his new service assignment in the Mediterranean area.
Gas prices were around $3.59 a gallon in Florida but in Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky, gas prices dropped to as low as $3.22. Then I hit Illinois where gas prices were the same as Florida but the temperatures and potholes in Illinois were hardly similar.
When I returned to Peoria on Friday AM, I was expecting to see a lot of worn out infrastructure but by this time today, I had driven on Peoria roads worse than I ever remember. Sure, it was a bad winter but Peoria is similar to IDOT roads, build them with low bid and then start maintenance almost immediately after the last yard of cement had been poured. Around the University-Main reconstruction area i observed what I have observed for as long as I can remember; 4-5 guys standing around while one piece of equipment and it's operator were the only things working.
Sure, weather conditions are not always ideal but the weather is not much different from the workers.
One thing noteworthy about Florida maintenance crews was that highway workers often worked in divided high traffic areas without one single bumper truck while Illinois usually has two and one time on RT. 57, three bumper trucks protecting 2-4 workers. Traffic being slower in the city, one bumper truck is sometimes one bumper truck too many.
As I have blogged before, the unionized states will never get their failing infrastructure repaired because there appears to be little incentive to work very hard. Hardly any surprise as the main job of unions is to keep all members employed. Slow down is the business managers message to those newer employees wishing to impress.
And so few women highway workers with the few white ones doing more work than any man and seldom any woman working a large piece of equipment or driving a truck One is ,more likely to see woman with brooms or holding stop signs. Still, the pay and benefits are top notch so why complain and complain to who without the fear of losing even a broom or sign job??
Where is the money coming from in Peoria? Maybe from the government but the government gets their money thru "back door tax" deals, raised fees in which the public has little or no input and multiple other taxes.
After 2-3 days in Peoria and catching up on old news, Peoria city residents or those who pay any taxes, must see their taxes raised and raised and raised. Those unionized, those on large pensions and the wealthy are mostly OK but the burden grows more heavily on the less fortunate workers every year.
But then, as one public works manager told me, the union bosses and business managers run the construction and repair shows..Note that union boss Mike Everett is a prime pusher of anything that keeps his union people employed. Such as the deal with IA and the city.(See Mike's comments verbatim on the PRM project above)
And of course, the "you must use all union people in construction" deals, such as the $500,000 pledge by the union to the PRM Committee or Committees. In-kind I suspect as our local news trumpet never explained whether the pledge was in cash of "free"??? work. If in "free work" who set the condition of "$500,000 worth of free work", Mike Everett or the PRM honchos??
Good question, Merle.