The state is selling the Department of Transportation complex on Capitol Street? You’ve got to be kidding.

One big difference between state government and well-run businesses lies in long-range planning. The state doesn’t usually do sound long-range planning. This is because of the nature of short-term budget requirements, the limited terms of most of our legislative and executive leaders and the tendency of the electoral process to judge candidates’ performance in the light of short-term accomplishments.

Toyota planned its successful Prius hybrid years ahead of other car makers. It sold the Prius in Japan’s home market to get the bugs out, before selling it overseas. Even then, the early Prius models were sold in the United States at a net loss to Toyota.

In this country in the near future, it is clear that individual automobile travel will become more and more expensive, and that state employees and persons needing to deal with the state will rely more and more on some form of public transportation to get to Augusta, probably buses.

Our state offices are now scattered all over the place — across the river, beyond the Civic Center, in Gardiner and elsewhere. Shuttle buses making rounds of state offices? How long a ride will that be?

Wouldn’t it make sense for the state today to begin the process of consolidating state functions into a central area, to get ready for an era when we make less use of cars?

A forward-looking state would not sell the DOT grounds and buildings, located a minute’s walk from the State House complex. In the future, we will never be able to buy that much land so close to the Capitol so cheaply.

Somebody should blow a whistle on the sale of the DOT complex.

Jon Lund, Hallowell


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