Reply Letter RE: Causeway Bridge Safety

Here is my answer to Mr. LaSalle and Mr. Ligi’s reply to Representative Paul Hollis. How can Mr. LaSalle and Mr. Ligi say there is “enough proof” and “years of study by the world’s foremost experts” when the Causeway has stated it does not have one (repeat, not one) study to show that the so-called “improvements” will improve anything? The Causeway itself confirmed that in writing in its response to my Public Records Request.  So why are Mr. Ligi and Mr. LaSalle refuting the Causeway’s own PRR written answers?  Both cannot be true. Worse, the Causeway confirmed it does not have ONE study to show that its proposals may in fact actually REDUCE SAFETY. Why?  Because the so-called safety bays will ruin the main safety attribute of the Causeway, namely, it’s a straight-away with limited entry/exit/intersection points.  The safety bays will add 12 to each side. The higher rails may simply cause cars to ricochet into the following lanes of traffic, thus maybe killing innocent followers.  Want to be a soccer mom with kids in the back and be hit by a ricocheting car? The Causeway has refused to do a rudimentary “Cost Benefit Analysis.”  Why?  Because it knows that a Cost Benefit Analysis will not justify these proposals.  The Causeway does not even have to follow the same criteria as LaDOT.  That’s inexcusable, disgraceful and outrageous. Texas A&M was tasked with designing rails, not conducting a study to see if higher rails are even needed.  This is another example of how the Causeway Commissioners and General Manager twist things.  If Mr. Ligi and LaSalle don’t know this, they have no business referring to it. Since Ligi/LaSalle refer to LaDOT, so will I.  LaDOT stated, per the Causeway General Manager, that the Causeway is 2.1 times safer than the area Interstates.  It’s also safer than the roads leading to and from the Causeway...  Hmmm.  Mr. Ligi and/or Mr. LaSalle asked the general manager in my presence “where did this 2.1 come from?”  The General Manager replied “from LaDOT.” WOW …  DOUBLE WOW … these Commissioners who did not even know that the Causeway was already 2.1 times safer than area Interstates, and safer than the roads that lead to it and from it, but yet voted to  spend money they don’t have to fix problems they don’t have.  That, to put it mildly, is flunking due diligence but excelling in fiduciary and managerial malfeasance. But 2.1 times safer is a measure of ACCIDENTS.  It’s 3 times safer when measured by FATALITIES per Federal  DOT. Whether it’s 2.1 times safer or 3 times safer, by either measure, it’s safe enough.  Not incidentally, just how is a disabled or broken-down vehicle supposed to get itself to a safety bay? I’d fire any employee of mine who wanted to spend over $100 million ($196 million with interest) without a single study (again, per the Causeway’s own written admission to my PRR), not the false Ligi-LaSalle claims.  I imagine any reasonably objective employer would fire them too. ‘Inadequate shoulders” are an apples and oranges comparison.  Shoulders  along Interstates are effective because they stretch for miles and miles, and typically on both sides, as opposed to intermittent shoulders only some 3 tenths of a mile rather than lengthy stretches. Yes, the Causeway is safe, and it’s safe enough.  And, again, per the Causeway’s reply to my PRR, it does not have ONE study to show its proposals will result in a safer Causeway, and worse, not one study to show that its proposals may in fact make things LESS SAFE.  That’s also inexcusable, disgraceful, and outrageous. What we “need to suspend” are the untruths being spouted by the Causeway folks, and instead rely on facts without the twists and half-truths by people like Ligi and LaSalle. Why not first try some cost-effective means such as requiring all trucks to stay only in the right lane to reduce lane-changers, and just lowering the speed limit (65 to 60 only adds 2 minutes to a commute, and 65 to 55 only adds 4 minutes).  It was originally 55, and we all ‘survived’ quite well. Several other cost-effective proposals have been presented to the Causeway, but they were not even tried, presumably, because those proposals do not keep the Causeway in debt.  Without that debt,  the Causeway would be policed by the state and without a toll.  That’s what is intolerable, to the Causeway folks anyway. To refer to St Tammany and Jefferson councils “approving” spending money they don’t have to fix a problem they don’t have is proof-positive that “politics as usual” is alive and well in both parishes.  No objective analysis will condone these proposals.  Not one.  B. Charles Goodwin, Mandeville