Brownback approves funding for capitol

Tricia Peterson / Washburn Review

Every time I look downtown, I see that damn crane. For the past couple months, I have been wondering when they were going to get rid of it. It can’t be cheap, especially because it’s the tallest free-standing tower crane in North America, standing at 340 feet.

Since 2008, this crane has been a part of Topeka’s skyline, and my question is, when will it be gone? I went back and read the first article, by CJOnline, to be written about the assembly of the crane, and it says “the exterior masonry restoration is a four-year project, which began in early 2008.” It’s late 2012, so they are already way behind schedule.

Today, it was brought to my attention that another $12 million was approved by Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders. Also, that the first estimated $300 million, for renovating the capitol, has been far exceeded already. It’s also said that the Kansas Department of Transportation will have to fork over $7 million. I just don’t understand why.

Brownback wants to spend all this money on renovating a building that looks fine to me, instead of putting money where it really matters, such as education or employment. Why are there people losing their jobs, and why is tuition going up, when we have the money to spend on renovating a building?

One part of the newest article from CJOnline that makes me skeptical is the fact that for most of the article the focus is the visitor center and marble flooring in the bathrooms. Then, it goes on to say that Brownback wants KDOT to pay more than half of the costs because, “It’s the grounds and the roads around the capitol. That’s the connection with KDOT.” 

The article says that the money wouldn’t be taken from salary money, but five percent (or about 40) KDOT employees were laid off in the beginning recently. The only item on the list of problems being fixed that have anything to do with the grounds was the sprinkler system.

“Lindsey Douglas of KDOT said the $7 million would not come out of construction projects, but would come from operational savings or federal funds if they can be secured,” according to the article.

So, let’s make the federal government pay for our state building or fire people so they can pay for it. Make KDOT pay for it, and we will fire 40 employees. Everything they say is contradictory, and doesn’t really make sense.

Other items on the list to be fixed include lighting, security, an orientation room and a classroom equipped for audio-visual presentations. I think some of these things are important, but not as important as jobs for our citizens and education costs. I am a student, paying for my own education, so of course I think my lower tuition is more important than marble flooring. Especially when the floors that are already there are just fine, and there are cheaper options.