I want to congratulate The Advocate and Bob Anderson, in particular, for the incisive article about the Walker Master Plan. It was no surprise to learn “only 2.4 percent of Walker’s employed residents work in the city, combined with road and traffic problems, results in workers having high commute times.”
What did they expect when they moved 20 miles away from their jobs, favorite stores and the other things a large city offers? The plan states “An unplanned, inefficient thoroughfare network is contributing to significant congestion problems and a decreased quality of life.”Did someone keep this a secret all these years? Why is it a surprise, today?
What was no surprise at all were the words of Mayor Bobby Font: “Walker doesn’t have the money to build a thruway through the city” and will have to rely on the state or even the federal government” to provide those funds. What this means in plain English is he expects someone else to help pay for the government services his constituents demand.
Baton Rouge residents recently voted to tax themselves to bring our bus system up to some minimum standard of service. I had quite a few discussions with people who opposed the bus tax and several of them threatened to move out of the city if taxes increased. These are the same people who will later want more government services so they can maintain the same standard of living, while asking others to not only pay for the infrastructure, but allow their own standard of living to fall. Imagine Baton Rouge rush hour traffic if the 97.6 percent of the population of Walker did not fill our streets in an effort to get home.
As a business owner (job creator), I must provide parking for my employees and customers, because if I depended on the bus system of Baton Rouge to bring them to me, I would have to close my doors in a week. My employees must have a car and a place to park it, wherever they go. This is an expense to them and me, but it does not increase my profits one penny. It is an unavoidable piece of overhead.
Baton Rouge is a city with many problems. One of the biggest problems is a history of city administrators who thought Baton Rouge was Walker, and let property developers build at will with no plans or infrastructure. Why worry, we could solve everything with wider roads. In the meantime, people flee Baton Rouge and deplete the tax base, but as soon as they arrive in the country, with its quaint two-lane roads, demand someone else make it easy to get back to the place they just left.