Seismic Retrofit Bond Measure

The March 11 editorial, "Yes on Two Bond Measures," is disappointing.

Recent attacks on the MTA for a number of construction blunders, while well-deserved, come after decades of ignoring more serious, catastrophic engineering design errors in Caltrans projects.

Background and history regarding the fragility of 8,000 California highway bridges have been gracefully ignored. The recent drainage problem on the Century Freeway was relegated to B1 (March 6). The failure of bridges on the Santa Monica Freeway two years ago was treated as a Caltrans tour de force, instead of an egregious cover-up of a foul-up. Coverage of the '71 Sylmar bridge failures, the failures of numerous structures in the '89 Loma Prieta event, including 41 fatalities in the Nimitz disaster, were treated with editorial detachment.

MTA deservedly has a bad press. Caltrans, for reasons which must certainly be hidden in the mists of the editorial board room, does not. Now you recommend that citizens of California vote Caltrans an additional $2-billion bond issue for highway construction (an award for ineptitude?) to be paid for out of the general funding. And paid for by our children to the tune of an eventual $4 billion.

Proposition 192--the so-called "Seismic Retrofit Bond Act"--is a grotesque hoax. Caltrans alleges the funds are needed to retrofit poorly designed highway bridges. The truth has been turned on its head; Caltrans has more than sufficient funds for this necessary work.

STANLEY HART

Altadena

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