by andrew haley
I suppose that a few generations ago if our Guy Smiley governor had told us that we needed to cut a highway through miles of marshland right beside the one we had just finished, we'd all sit back and praise the lord for his guidance. Maybe because I saw too many journalistic thrillers and heard too many Watergate jokes when I was a kid, I have this nasty habit of saying, "Hmmm?"
Let's ask ourselves some questions? Why would a good ole boy like Mike Leavitt want to build a second, north-south highway right beside the existing one? Sure, traffic's only going to get worse, but why didn't we just build I-15 wider when we had it shut down? And why build it through a marshland? We live in the middle of nowhere folks. Come on! There's got to be some other route that's not going to piss off SLCACEEPA or CALSPEACE or ENVIRODRED or whomever.
Anybody who's seen China Town knows that the first thing to ask when weird things show up around the water is, "who's got something to gain?" So here's my bet: Ole Governor Smiley has a stake in this marshland to get that road built, cause a long time ago the lord said unto his friends, "Buy cheap land and the governor will provide you a highway." I think some nifty, young whippersnapper at the Tribune ought to go dig around in State records to find out who owns the land that the projected Legacy Highway off-ramps will go through.
Just imagine. You have friends in high places who are surfing the LETS GO TRACTORS! Olympic vibe. You have a stack of cash higher than Moroni on roller skates. You buy a bunch of worthless, soggy dirt out by the airport and all along the lakeshore; because there's nothing out there, it's real cheap.
You drop your tithing in the right chute and bam!-the governor has a vision! A ribbon of oily crushed rock, running to the promised land. Where once there were ducks, there will be shopping malls, gleaming 16 theater movie complexes, stumpy office buildings with thousand unit parking lots, and over it all, the great throbbing green light of money!
This whole Legacy Highway thing stinks of the same high-level hand jobs that tore out the trolley lines, built the Triad Center, and sold huge tracks of National Forrest to Snowbasin so a bunch of Nigerians could race down it for two weeks in 2002. It stinks of white-collar crime that gets ugly, useless things thrown up where they just shouldn't be. It stinks of the all the private donations, soft money, little gifts and power lunches that have turned conspiracy into such a bad cliche that a dumb schmuck like me who doesn't even watch the news can smell a rat all the way out to the airport. Folks, its stinks even worse than the land their gonna build it on.
The only thing that amazes me is that the EPA actually said no. That SLC Planning Commission said no. And that the Army Corps of Engineers might actually listen to them. There really must be a God.