Don’t buy the county spin on Airport Circle debacle

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To the editor:

County government is still in full spin mode about the failed multimillion dollar “improvement” to the Airport Circle.  

I was shocked that in a recent article, Atlantic County officials claimed the project was “not meant to make traveling the circle faster – only make it safe.” Really?  In an official press release, still available on the county’s website, the county claimed the new Airport Circle was designed to handle “increased traffic volume” in the area and “the new configuration will help reduce congestion.”  Having made that type of statement, it’s no surprise that county officials are trying to change history.  

Traffic congestion has never been worse, and the new circle, which cost more than $5 million, is a constant cause of gridlock and frustration for everyone who uses it.  Even Egg Harbor Township Mayor James “Sonny” McCullough, a close political ally of the Republican county leadership, has publically stated his town would be better off if the circle were simply put back the way it was before the “improvements.”  

Immediately after the new circle opened, when it became clear that the project was a failure, county officials in the administration and on the freeholder board issued tough statements about holding contractors and employees responsible for the boondoggle. Yet, more than eight months later, nothing has happened. In fact, the county has now publically declared that it has “accepted” the condition of the circle.  

This is yet another symptom of the all-too-comfortable relationship between the Republican-dominated freeholder board and the county administration.  As a result of their partisan allegiance, no one is willing to ask the tough questions necessary to protect taxpayers when it would result in public embarrassment to political allies.  

Don’t fall for the political spin. The Airport Circle project was a multimillion dollar waste of your tax dollars, no one is being held accountable for it, and if we do not change the leadership of county government, no one ever will be. 

Colin Bell

Atlantic City

 

Colin Bell is the Democrat candidate for freeholder at large.

 


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