Too fast for ‘old fogey’

By Jim Suber

Did I read that interview in the political newsletter by the Hawver company right?

Gov. Sam Brownback wants to raise the speed limit on the Kansas Turnpike to 85 miles an hour between Topeka and Wichita in order to attract more toll-paying motorists?

Pinch me. I thought the honorable Governor was a family man.

Let me be plain. Eighty-five is too fast for most cars and trucks and their tires and too fast for folks who are itching to text or tweet. The turnpike roadway itself is not safe enough for those speeds in lots of places.

When the speed limit gets to 85, people are going to touch it up to 94. Many go that fast now, but that doesn’t make it right or safe.

I am the last one on earth to lecture about safety when safety is used to push a hidden agenda. But this time the evidence is on the face of things.

I wouldn’t want my family members doing 94 even if on brand new 8-ply tires that never had touched gravel. I am an old fogey.

If Kansas wants people to drive between Wichita and Topeka we need really good reasons to go to one or both.

But sadly, any attraction has to be either political or lightweight financial business.

The University of Kansas basketball team is not going to play Wichita State every night or any night.

Nothing much else is likely to fill four lanes between Wichita and Topeka, where home owned bonafide businesses – dairy processing, meat packing, book-binding, milling, baking, banking, mental health hospitals and research, grocery distribution, manufacturing, insurance companies, foundries, grain handling, railroading, publishing and dining – left town decades ago.

With real stuff and home responsibility and home money no longer around, the city has lapsed into the typical whiney dying town vocals of drug gangs, bad chain food, sagging motels, moldy apartment buildings and professional public trough raiders who develop plans to revitalize dead downtowns with brick sidewalks and thin trees in planters and overpriced parking and forlorn riverside parks visited mostly by drug dealers.

The state government, like most of the other 49 colonial outposts commanded by the federals, has far too many lawyers and too many other ineffectual workers, having dismissed most of the experienced, wise and dedicated public servants years ago in one or another round of cutbacks and early retirements.

The media are (it is a plural term) much diminished. I recall locally owned radio and television stations with news staffs.

At least four really outstanding locally owned eateries still exist in Topeka.

The big chain warehouse stores are no fun, but they are open a lot and they do have free parking, despite all of the real money either going out of state or to midnight thieves sauntering into offices to lift upwards of $350,000 per tour, all on camera but nary anybody caught.

Maybe the turnpike would be a good getaway route on which outlaws could blend right in with the traffic flow and “fly” to the Oklahoma line.

I like thrills and danger as much as the next person, but I don’t want to be riding the outside lane at 90 mph when a tire blows out or when a chain boomer bounces off a flatbed trailer just ahead.

Oh, and so much for that initiative the state officials once talked about to attract tourists to the Flint Hills.

At 85 and 90, they really shouldn’t be noticing when they fly by the Matfield Green exit.  Don’t even think about the deer crossing.

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