So you’ve got this stool, OK? And this stool has, uh, three legs, see? Because it’s a three-legged stool? And, uh, if you remove one or two of the legs, then the stool falls over and destroys Kentuckiana’s ability to compete economically and makes Bob Vila fly into a rage … did you get all of that? No? Well, just watch this latest Build the Bridges Coalition commercial and see if any of this stool-bullshit sticks:
Ah, the beauty of visual aids. (h/t Jake)
Too bad that the advertisement’s insinuation — dividing the wildly unpopular $4.1. billion, Butchertown-eviscerating, Jeffersonville-crushing Ohio River Bridges Project will be bad bad bad for Louisville’s economic future — is patently absurd: Those stool animations were actually pretty good up until the narrator started in with all of those lies. Other, more successful communities have shown that scaling down massive public works projects that cannot be paid for via sensible, conventional means is actually a prudent thing to do if you want anything done at all:
In the mid-1990s, St. Louis found itself in a familiar pickle: As downtown traffic across the Mississippi River became unbearable in light of regional growth patterns, the city knew it would need to build at least one new cross-river bridge to alleviate growing automotive congestion. A Missouri-Illinois bi-state bridges authority was formed to tackle this problem.
It wasn’t long, however, before the Midwestern authority hit a major roadblock. Within a decade, the cost of their two-bridge solution had ballooned from a few hundred million dollars to more than $2 billion, which neither state could afford. Instead of advocating tolling or Wall Street-engineered debt-financing schemes, the authority did something unheard-of by ORBP standards.
“We went back to the drawing board to look for alternatives,” says Mississippi River Bridge Director Greg Horn. “We came up with a bunch of different concepts, looked at public-private partnerships, which included inviting some giant conglomerate in to operate the tolls, neither of which was very popular.”
In the end, Horn, a 26-year veteran of the Missouri Department of Transportation, says the authority changed its record of decision. Since doing so, they’ve been able to tackle the project piece-meal and are now under construction on a one-bridge solution. It’s a kind of “build-as-you-go” approach that has saved both states $1.4 billion.
“There’s little point in having a record of decision if you can’t afford it,” Horn says. “You might as well not have one at all if you can’t pay for it, the end result would be the same: You get nothing done.”
But who are we to let a little thing like reality spoil the fun?
The ad was crafted by the Louisville-based Bandy Carroll Hellige advertising firm, which also produces the propaganda promotional campaigns for McDonald’s Midwestern markets, Four Roses Bourbon, The Louisville Zoo and The Frazier Museum’s Fontaine Ferry Exhibit, among others.
Bridges Coalition spokesman Matt Kamer declined to tell LEO Weekly how much the ad cost to produce, saying, “I don’t think we’re going to disclose budgets.”
Speaking of budgets, the Bridges Coalition does, however, spend $150,000 on Greater Louisville Inc., the city’s chamber of commerce, in the form of an annual, interest-accruing note receivable, according to financial documents prepared by BKD CPA’s & Advisors.
But, yes: We must prop up the stool, or we will fall and hurt ourselves.
UPDATE: Astute reader D. Fletcher has provided LEO with the following one-legged stool technology:
We can build it. Faster. Stronger. Better.