Opinion

Winslow Way: The road that would not be fixed | In Our Opinion | April 16

The Winslow Way reconstruction project has resurfaced in Council Chambers, though the fact that only a half-dozen people attended Tuesday’s rehash indicates islanders have little energy or time to spend on it. Not to mention money.

Four years ago, the former mayor and staff favored a long-term finance strategy for Winslow Tomorrow that was estimated at $120 million stretched over 20 years. The capital projects alone were worth $95 million, $33 million of which the city said would come from grants. All hypothetical, as it turned out.

This grandiose vision of Winslow Way slowly shrunk – but not without a lengthy battle – until council was forced to shelve the project in December when a lawsuit blocked funding. Two years ago the project had slid to $20.6 million, then down to $14M, $12M, $9.5M and $8M when presented two weeks ago. The council suggested cutting it to $5.5M during its last meeting, but getting four yes votes may be difficult. (See page A5).

Predictable? Perhaps. Former council member Debbie Vancil said the following during a January 2006 meeting: “We are subsidizing (Winslow Tomorrow) by not doing the things we would ordinarily get done – things like maintenance for roads. I’m worried Winslow Tomorrow will swallow City Hall.” Gulp.

Downsizing the project makes sense when considering the current condition of the island’s economy, and the city should end the nightmare when it has the money in hand. Please. Still, times are changing, and it figures to be an even bet that Wing Point Way, which has been waiting its turn for too many years, will get fixed before Winslow Way because it will cost less.

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