An Idea Only A Corporation and A Young Journalist Could Love

I bought a Springfield News-Leader yesterday because I needed paper to carve jack o’lanterns on, and this was the lead story, page 1 above the fold: Could a $130 million gondola project alleviate congestion on the Branson strip?:

Director of Public Works David Miller has worked for the City of Branson for 25 years. The entire time, he said, the tourist destination in the rolling mountains of the Ozarks has been looking to alleviate the gridlock that can develop on Highway 76, the theater-studded Branson strip.

As a result, the panacea has long been seen as something off the ground. A monorail has been floated multiple times. “Personal Rapid Transit,” a system of individual automated cars moving along elevated tracks, has been proposed. But funding remained elusive, and projects never got past the concept stage.

Now, a new Missouri-based company has proposed a gondola line — think ski lift, not Venice.

At a Branson Board of Aldermen study session on Thursday, American Gondola pitched an approximately 8.5-mile route from Branson Landing to Silver Dollar City, with stops along the way, at a Branson Board of Aldermen study session. Total project cost has been estimated at $130 million.

$130 million for a single-route bit of annual maintenance cost nightmare that won’t be used in rain or winter and will be vulnerable to acts of nature? That’s an idea only the people who would get paid and the twenty-three-year-olds fresh from all-night college brainstorming sessions could love. Hopefully, the responsible people who govern wouldn’t agree, but I think we’re far beyond responsible people governing at this point.

Maybe the city of Branson can pay per passenger like it does on that boondoggle of an airport it has.

Man, I’ve got to wonder how much of the paper’s reporting budget goes for weekly runs to Colorado for, uh, research. I remember a long time ago when newspapers dug up and exposed government boondoggles and waste instead of promoting it.

And this is why I don’t get a Springfield News-Leader more often. I even refuse free copies when they’re handing them out at the warehouse club or supermarket. They’re not worth the couple of minutes it takes to flip through the 24 pages.