Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lexington's Obama stimulus connection

On Tuesday, Business Lexington reported on a conference call between the Obama transition team and our local officials. The incoming administration is seeking to create an economic stimulus package, that nationwide, could reach nearly $800 billion for what are called "shovel ready" projects. Projects that could be completed in one or two years.

Lexington leaders have identified a number of the projects with an estimated cost of $455 million. These projects are ones that are already on the drawing board to repair or replace existing infrastructure that have not found a funding source. The designs are essentially done but there are no scheduled construction dates set.

Should the Obama administration achieve their package and award Lexington with funds, I would hope that we would not just solve the old problems with old solutions. The buzz words of Mayor Newberry's campaign were health care, high tech and horses and I cannot see how, in these brick and morter, shovel ready projects, that horses or health care could fit in. That just leaves the high tech aspect. Each of these projects needs to be re-evaluated for an application of a higher level of technology in their respective solutions before they actually request the funds be spent.

I would like to call on the Lexington leaders to apply the "high tech" litmus test to all new projects under consideration, not just to have whiz bang, bells and whistles as part of the show, but a real use of technology in the solution. I also don't want the city to rely just on technology in all of their dealings as I try to follow Scotty's comment "The more complicated you make the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain". Technology should not be used just for technology's sake.

No comments: