Wednesday, February 24, 2010

QNO comment : I think I see Yellow Flags soon

Reply #17 on : Wed February 24, 2010, 15:34:11
All of us have questions about where the Obama administration is taking us, and we salute the Tea Party for asking some of them?

But where is the Tea Party on local issues like the hydroelectric project? Why is it that a project of such magnitude - $200 million, which the mayor claims to have been so extensively studied and planned, appears to be changing with every news story? And why isn’t the local Tea Party asking local questions? Why aren’t Quincyans asking?

The City Council late last year voted a $6.6 million bond issue, part of which was for licensing and part for a project to prove its commercialization. After defending the effort to test a small number of turbines on Lock and Dam 21 to make sure they’ll work, Klingner Engineering, the hydroelectric project’s consultant, now says that’s unnecessary. What has changed?

The decision appears frivolous and demands explanation. The test project was the best risk management tool taxpayers had to assure we could cut our losses before jumping into the deep end of a $200 million pool. What if it was learned the turbines did not work? Better to eat the cost of four turbines than sixty. What if the power generated by the completed project cannot be sold to the grid? (There is not a single power purchase agreement in place.) The test project at Lock and Dam 21 would (a) assure the French turbines would work and, if so, (b) assure that power generated by them would be sold. The city could use the power the four turbines at it wastewater treatment plant.

Last year, the city’s project administrators told us the cost of the project at Lock and Dam 21 would be $81,638,765. The newspaper now reports the cost at $100 million, a 25 percent increase within six months. How does that impact the project’s budget? And where's the list of risks Quincy taxpayers face for failures?

Those years of planning began before there was a stimulus program. Now the project appears to depend on it. And the city had to set up a private corporation – although city staff and contractors make up its majority - to be eligible.

Where is the business plan the city promised during this phase? Although it will have to be amended to reflect these recent major changes, Quincy taxpayers still deserve an opportunity to see the numbers that justify the project.

Where is the independent commission the mayor said he would consider appointing?

Where is the Tea Party on this?


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