Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mitch Perry Report 4.8.14: Time for some traffic problems on I-275

Posted By on Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 8:43 AM

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The Florida Department of Transportation's construction project for a section of I-275 North — the  "overnight" project that ended up lasting four days — is over. So says FDOT as of 5 a.m.

The project as originally designed necessitated closing down all but one lane of northbound traffic on Saturday night (which was bad enough). But the closing recurred on Sunday afternoon, Monday morning, and last night, all night long. 

The story gained extra momentum after Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Friedman went on the Rays telecast on Sunday to bitch about FDOT. But trust me, this issue inconvenienced a whole lot more folks than some of the 30,000 who attended the Rays-Ranger game on Saturday night and traveled back to Tampa (such as manager Joe Maddon). 

Apparently the problem resulted from the temporary asphalt coming apart in hours instead of months. 

Can we please find out why that is happening? Seriously. Why did such asphalt come apart in hours instead of months? The people of Tampa Bay deserve answers.

I supposed it was just a coincidence, but before I took off for Tropicana Field last night for an event I was covering, I had just finished Ryan Lizza's article in the New Yorker on Chris Christie. You know, of "Bridgegate" fame? Personally I've always thought the story is a bit overrated, and unquestionably MNBC (specifically Chris Matthews) has lost all perspective in breathlessly reporting every tiny morsel of the story since it went big in January. 

The scandal, of course, was the serious bridge closure that went on for days in Fort Lee, New Jersey, last September, allegedly cooked up by some loyal Christie aides who wanted to get back at that city's Democratic mayor, who opted not to endorse Christie in his runaway path to re-election last November as New Jersey governor.

The article doesn't shed any new light on whether or not Christie was in on it, but I'm willing to give the governor a break and believe that he's innocent. What he's guilty of, however, is total bullying, and not just of outspoken schoolteachers. Let's just put it this way — Thomas Kean Sr., the former governor of New Jersey, was long known as Christie's political mentor. Now Kean Sr. has pretty much washed his hands of his fellow Republican. After reading the piece, it just doesn't seem possible that this man will seriously contend for president in 2016.

In other news… Katherine Eagan has succeeded Phillip Hale as HART's new CEO on an interim basis.

HART board member Josh Burgin wants to make sure whomever the board selects next won't be engaging in campaign tactics on a referendum, as he claims is the case across the Bay.

Former CL intern Laila Al-Arian is the recipient of a new Peabody Award for her work with Al Jazeera America.

And just for fun: Mike Suarez and Mark Sharpe disagree about that Steve Jobs biopic from last summer.

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