On July 15th, 2012, Michele Samuelson published an article on the Empower Texas blog regarding Austin's new plan to build a bike bridge. Samuelson argues that the spending for the bridge is unnecessary and frivolous and, ultimately, a significant waste of money. Samuelson concludes that the $10.5 million bike bridge is "the essence of fiscal mismanagement" and that nobody is better at "spending boondoggles" than Austin's city council.
I can only hope that people understand that the role of the government is supposed to "represent" the people that are affiliated with the local government. If anybody were to "stereotype" an Austin resident, you'd paint a portrait of a bike rider that complains about the lack of bike lanes within a city. The idea of Austin's city council deciding to build a bike lane for a significant population living within the boundaries of Austin is sound and absolutely not outlandish. It is the role of the local government to listen to its residents and adjust accordingly to the needs expressed by the inhabitants. Of course any fiscal Republican is going to find this spending to be obsolete and ridiculous, it's in their fiscally-responsible blood. The intended audience for the article was Republicans living within the state of Texas or, more specifically, Austin, and it's evident that Samuelson is catering to what every Republican wants to hear: Democrats are incapable of properly managing money. However, Samuelson failed to consider the desires of Austin residents. The spending on this bridge is not only smart, but expected. For instance, if you have a community of residents living within your city that loves to swim in public pools, you'd take the necessary measures to ensure the pools are clean, well-staffed, and enjoyable to the large population that benefits from using the pool. Similarly, if you have a large biking population in Austin, it should be automatic to ensure they have the necessary roads and safety precautions to cater to their lifestyle. After all, doesn't Lance Armstrong reign here?