Guest Viewpoint: Follow inter-modal money trail

Guest Viewpoint from Kevin Hogencamp, Publisher of the Albany Journal

Last summer, the city of Albany was caught cheating by the feds while pursuing millions of dollars for a downtown bus station project.

A new or even a renovated bus transfer station isn't mentioned in the city's long-range transportation plan. Yet, the price tag for a new place to catch the bus mysteriously grew in price virtually overnight from $2.3 million to $9 million without public input.

The extra money is needed for the project, city officials now say, largely to accommodate passenger rail service.

Passenger rail? Bogus. That's not on any plans for transportation projects in Atlanta, much less Albany, over the next 40 years

So, when city hall falsified documentation to make its case for the so-called "multi-modal" transportation center to be built downtown, the feds pulled its funding for the project.

But the city won't quit.

Promising to tell the truth this time, City Manager Alfred Lott is still mysteriously and vigorously pursuing the federal funding for the project. He even says he will ask for and listen to public input this time, rather than lie and say there wasn't any.

We've been down this road before with the Don Buie case and the $6 million bond - spending our money without a plan or public buy-in.

Here's hoping that there's at least one community leader courageous enough to demand an independent investigation into the downtown bus station scandal.

As in the Buie case, there's a money trail that needs to be followed.