Infrastructure, especially roads, is on many minds as campaigning moves to the June 12, 2018 primary elections.
Some questionnaires being sent to candidates for various council seats include one or more questions about infrastructure planning.
Four years ago, Mark Lazarus promised voters he would “Fight for greater investment in new and current roads.”
In some of his early campaign statements this time around, Lazarus has pointed to the Ride III initiative and International Drive as personal successes.
This is misleading.
Council has little to do with the Ride projects. A prioritized list is presented from an independent committee to council on which it votes up or down for the entire list. Council may not make any deletions or additions. If council approves the list, and it always does, the citizens vote on a referendum question whether to adopt a one-cent sales tax to fund the Ride program.
As far as International Drive is concerned, if any current member of council deserves credit for keeping the issue moving toward completion it is Johnny Vaught. It was Vaught’s uncle, retired Lt. Gen. James Vaught, who initially addressed the need for International Drive and continued to push for the project from the early 2000’s until his death in September 2013. I can still hear Vaught addressing council several times on the importance of International Drive always ending with “Get it done.”
After Johnny Vaught was elected to council in November 2014, he picked up where his uncle left off in seeing the project to completion next month.
A recent Facebook video on the Lazarus campaign page touts on to greater infrastructure as it pictures the Farrow Parkway interchange with U.S. 17 Bypass.
This is an unfortunate choice of roads to feature as it depicts one of the more outrageous projects the county has undertaken.