18 September 2010

Check, Check, Check

I imagine one of the most frustrating aspects of working in local government is the inability to provide residents with the instant results they deserve - and that you would like to give.  Often, an elected official is given little or no grace period before he hears the cry of "broken promises!"  Go a little beyond that, and the conspiracy theorists begin their insinuations that the work was never intended to be done - or worse.

The fact is that some things take time.

Establishing railroad "quiet zones" at the Norfolk Southern crossings required much more than money.  Navigating the bureaucracy of the Federal Railway Administration took time.  And the payoff, notwithstanding a few stray horns this past week due to signalling issues, has been worth it - at least to my ears.

The concept of a new limited access highway through Hillsborough probably goes back more than 50 years to the initial construction of Interstate 95.  This "Somerset Freeway" took many forms over the decades, until finally being scuttled in the 80s.  Renewed plans for a 206 bypass have been around for more than ten years.  Interesting to realize that the first shovels went in the ground the same month that the missing link of Route 95 has at last been mapped out.

Hillsborough's "mercury problem" has also been around for decades, but it wasn't until 2001 that our township committee became aware, inadvertently, that most of the nation's stockpile was being stored in our backyard.  Hillsborough officials not only navigated the usual Washington bureaucracy, but also had to deal with the trepidations of the stockpiles new home.  The announcement by Hillsborough mayor Frank DelCore that one-fifth of the mercury was trucked to Nevada earlier this month, and the rest will be going soon, should come as no surprise to those who knew that this issue was much more than a perpetual campaign promise - it was actually a top priority.

Sometimes, those priorities take time.

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