By The Bakersfield Californian
The city of Bakersfield would rather build a freeway for a local cost of $270 million plus $254 million in interest and pay outside workers for a few years than employ local workers on local roadwork for 35 years.
City Manager Alan Tandy and the city finance manager have stated that this loan, totaling $524 million, will be paid for from existing city transportation taxes currently used for road repair, maintenance and new construction. Tandy has also stated that over the 35 years needed to repay the loan, those taxes will not be available for roadwork as the taxes will be diverted to service the loan. It will come to about $14 million less each year, leading to a huge deterioration of our roads during this time.
The freeway will take several years to build. During that time we will experience a temporary injection of economic benefit. The jobs will mostly be temporary, short-term and filled by people from outside Kern County. Once it's finished, we will have a freeway (which will do nothing to improve traffic flow) and nothing else; no jobs and the paychecks and supplier checks and contractor checks will have left the city along with the workers. But the taxpayers of Bakersfield will be left with a $524 million bill.
If it is not built, we would have all of our $524 million at home for work on our local roads for local jobs and local suppliers over the same 35 years. This is a lot of good, long-term, stable, local jobs.