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Ed Thomas

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February 22, 2013
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Simple solution to Hwy 49 overrun

I have been pondering the Highway 49 cost overrun by Caltrans for over a week now.

I wanted to come up with a non-hostile way to voice my frustration and offer a solution.

Thank goodness for letters to the editor.

The solution seems so obvious that one has to wonder why it does not occur. Solution: Don’t let a bureaucratic institution ever do a job that could be done by a company in the private sector that got the job via an open competitive bidding process.

It does not take a rocket scientist to see all the extra people hanging around a Caltrans job and their start-stop inefficiencies — you wouldn’t see that on a private contractor job. A private contractor would also be able to tell you how the job was going financially at a moment’s notice anytime during the job. A private contractor would not whine and make excuses for its inefficiency and incompetence by saying it was too busy, it should have been on top of it, etc. A private contractor would be out of business if it ran its operations like Caltrans.

I think this principle of letting private companies do most of the work makes sense at the city level as well. I drove by the Morgan Ranch Island project in anguish for months last year as I watched what should have been (and would have been if it had been contracted out) a few days’ job. Instead, the city chose to do it when it had time and, thus, started and stopped so many times it is was ridiculous. I would guess the job could have been done faster and cheaper if it had been contracted out.

So those of you in charge of city, county and state projects — please give serious thought to using private enterprise, contracted within a competitive bid process to do most projects. It will save money, create useful jobs and get things done in a timely manner.

Thank you, Grass Valley City Council, for contracting out the Dorsey interchange to a private company. It should get done efficiently, on time and within budget.

P.S. An anonymous group of folks periodically weed the Morgan Ranch Island to keep it looking nice and weed-free. We do it because we have pride in our city and our development. We all should pitch in and help where we can. Are you doing your share?

Ed Thomas lives in Grass Valley.


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The Union Updated Apr 6, 2013 10:56AM Published Feb 22, 2013 09:54PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.