Vail Daily’s view: Safety first with Obama projects |

Vail Daily’s view: Safety first with Obama projects

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO, Colorado

If you want to build it, Obama may come.

That seems to be the message to government officials in Vail, Eagle County and probably countless other municipalities with long lists of expensive, public construction projects they’ve had trouble funding.

Obama, who takes office Jan. 20, says he wants to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

And since they were asked, Eagle County has suggested Obama’s stimulus money could help build the long-sought Eagle County airport interchange on Interstate 70 and Vail thinks the money could used on affordable housing and a traffic-calming freeway underpass between Vail Village and West Vail.

(No, Vail has not yet mentioned asking Obama to help bury I-70; nor have we heard the president-elect’s name mentioned in connection with a mountain monorail.)

The local projects ” especially on- and off-ramps closer to the airport ” would make life in the Vail Valley easier and more convenient. The underpass is meant to make traffic flow more smoothly around Vail and the downvalley interchange would mean a quicker trip to the airport and less congestion in Eagle.

But Obama’s billions should have higher priorities ” such as upgrading the nation’s electric grid or fixing crumbling bridges where collapses could kill people. These projects are in the realm of necessity in the everyday lives of tens of millions of Americans ” they perhaps even mean life or death in some cases. The local wish list promises convenience for tens of thousands, a large number of whom are on vacation.

This all means we, as a community, might be a bit like the kid who overshoots and asks for the really, really expensive Christmas present instead of the one gift that would be a wiser purchase when mom and dad’s budget is considered.

Obama’s money should go to national security and public safety first. If there’s money left after that, then maybe it could be spent on a “bridge to somewhere,” such as the Eagle County airport interchange.

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