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"Bridge To Microsoft" Gets Federal Stimulus Funds

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the them-as-has dept.

Microsoft 343

theodp writes "Among the first to benefit from the investment in roads and bridges from Obama's stimulus plan is Microsoft, which has $20B in the bank. Local planners have allotted $11M to help pay for a highway overpass to connect one part of Microsoft's wooded campus with another. Microsoft will contribute almost half of the $36.5M cost; other federal and local money will pay the rest. 'Steve Ballmer or Bill Gates could finance this out of pocket change,' griped Steve Ellis of the Taxpayers for Common Sense. 'Subsidizing an overpass to one of the richest companies in the country certainly isn't going to be the best use of our precious dollars.' Ellis called the project 'a bridge to Microsoft,' alluding to Alaska's infamous 'Bridge to Nowhere.'" A White House spokesman said this bridge project is still under review.

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so? (3, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27201933)

Unless it is a toll road which Microsoft owns completely, there is nothing wrong with using public money to build the road.

Re:so? (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27201965)

Ok, if Washington is anything like my states, there are plenty of roads that need repairs and bridges that need to be built before a bridge that only helps one company. Essentially all this does is go from one end of MS's campus to the other. So who uses this? MS and their employees. When there are crumbling bridges and potholes in roads that many, many, more people travel on, it doesn't make any sense to build a road that is only to be used by one company.

Re:so? (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202197)

Meh. On the one hand, yes. On the other hand, Microsoft probably brings in a teeny tiny bit of revenue for that community, and it's not uncommon for local governments to show their appreciation by funding projects like this.

They're going halfzies, I don't see anything wrong with it.

Re:so? (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202345)

I would agree that it isn't a bad thing if all their other roads which people use are in great shape. However, I doubt that is the case. You should serve the public first, corporations and government second. If they got stimulus money to fund roads, I would certainly hope they would fix the roads most people used first then move on to side roads second. Or at least fix the worst first and then move on to improving other roads.

Re:so? (1, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202557)

This is called government. Microsoft pays pays Barack, who gives money to microsoft. Your money. Oh and if you still want to use the whitehouse site You'll have to pay some more [techworld.com.au]

Isn't government grand ? "Protection money". Even though yes, the government is generally prepared to protect you -just enough so you can keep working to pay some more to "your" next politician's bosses.

Taxes, MS screws over the real tax payers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202435)

those patent threatening disloyal corporate scumbags don't deserve a penny of public funds in campus infrastructure projects [crosscut.com]

MS is just as shitty a company as enron or worldcom or any of those new york so called investment banks. Over priced garbage for products they pushed using monopoly and cartel strong arm tactics over the years and using every sleazy trick in the book to get out of paying something back to the community on top of that. What has been collectively LOST to businesses and individuals all over the planet due to their insecure code? It has to be in the tens of billions so far. Why the hell they should be rewarded for shipping botnet bait products is beyond me.

Re:so? (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202257)

It probably would be cheaper just to build Microsoft two Internapults(tm).

Then interns can be flung from each end of the MS campus to the other. No bridge required.

Re:so? (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202365)

FYI, the roads here outright suck, this was a decision they made to ensure that the stupid Seattlites wouldn't get their fair share of the stimulus dollars. I happen to know of at least 3 fairly substantial projects which would have been a better choice than this bridge.

And that leaves out options like fixing our streets or our aging electrical grid. Or perhaps fixing the streetlight out front of my parents' house which has been broken for the last 2 decades. And no I'm not exaggerating, it's been broken since sometime in the mid 80s, or at least that's when I first remember it, probably was broken before that.

Re:so? (3, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202605)

The only fair way to distribute money taken at gunpoint, ie. taxes, is to not take the money away in the first place.

But since America loaned too much money in the recent past, you're government is solving that for you by forcing you (promising to send your future taxes to someone in trade for money now) to take out much more loans.

Yes. You read that right. The government is solving the problem of Americans (and others) loaning to much by making you loan more.

This is, according to a certain democrat "redivision of wealth" (from you to microsoft in this case). But don't worry, many large corporations, huge banks and rich senators are entitled to your money according to this democrat.

Re:so? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202381)

Washington is - they have a massive backlog of highway projects.

The really insulting thing is - they pull crap like this after laying of over a thousand people, and then make us pay for their projects.

Re:so? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202623)

Hey they have the support of the government, and therefore the largest army in the world. You gave them that (and I, even though I voted for the other guy).

What did you expect now they have paid off the guns ? A thank you note ?

Re:so? (5, Insightful)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202425)

How myopic. As someone who once worked at MS (and now at a Linux company, so sad that I feel I need to qualify that) - Redmond is a traffic nightmare, due to the sheer volume of intercampus transport for Microsoft (and other companies in the area, but MS is certainly the biggest).

Would an overpass benefit MS? Absolutely. Would it take SEVERAL THOUSAND VEHICLES A DAY off of Redmond's roads, much to the benefit of Redmond locals and other Washington residents? Absolutely.

This whole "Why MS? They've got money!" thing stinks more of people here's biases than an actual rational review of the situation. You want perspective? The city of Redmond is 47,000 people. There are 40,000 employees of Microsoft in Redmond every day. Not accounting for the overlap between the two, that means Redmond's population is DOUBLED during the day due to Microsoft alone, let alone Nintendo, Safeco Insurance, etc, etc, etc. See why reducing traffic on the area's arterial roads is a benefit for the entire community, not just MS?

Re:so? (2, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202543)

How myopic. As someone who once worked at MS (and now at a Linux company, so sad that I feel I need to qualify that) - Redmond is a traffic nightmare, due to the sheer volume of intercampus transport for Microsoft (and other companies in the area, but MS is certainly the biggest).

I am not living anywhere near there, so I would curious to know how much of this traffic is made up of single person vehicles and how much is made up by multi-passenger vehicles like buses. If it is the former, then surely the solution is to encourage public transport? This would reduce road wear and trafiic.

Re:so? (4, Informative)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202583)

Microsoft actually does extremely well with their shuttling situation. For large, common routes, they use large buses. For smaller routes they use "commuter" buses, running on a regular schedule.

For on-demand shuttle usage, you go to any building reception, request a shuttle. They have an integrated dispatch network which will aggregate trips, so along comes a Prius (they only use the Prius), picks you up, makes as many pickups as possible in a beeline between you and your destination, attempting to fill the car where possible, and then drops you off in the optimal fashion. In this sense, it's pretty hard to fault Microsoft (who also offer all employees free public transport passes, paid for by the company).

Re:so? (2, Interesting)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202549)

Ok, if Washington is anything like my states, there are plenty of roads that need repairs and bridges that need to be built before a bridge that only helps one company

This isn't a bridge that only helps one company. RTFA.

Re:so? (-1, Flamebait)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202011)

Why ?

"Public money" sounds like something straight out of the Communist Manifesto (1848, Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels). The idea behind taxes is that the government takes from the people using coercive force, and we support and continue the process under the belief that we are getting essential services in return. Services that we would not otherwise be capable of providing for ourselves.

Please do educate me as to how this is an essential service that benefits everyone that we would not be able to provide for ourselves.

Re:so? (5, Insightful)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202071)

Please do educate me as to how this is an essential service that benefits everyone that we would not be able to provide for ourselves.

From the article:

"The city of Redmond says the overpass will relieve congestion on other streets and support a big employer in the region, though one cutting jobs lately. Microsoft said in January that itâ(TM)s eliminating as many as 5,000 jobs, including some from its Seattle-area workforce of 41,480."

Microsoft could pay out of pocket but the new road is a public road and they shouldn't have to. The fact they're offering to pay any at all is a boon. As the article stats, MS is a huge employer in the area and creating better traffic throughput (ahem...enlarging bandwidth) is good not just for them but for the people using the road (employees of MS mostly but still "the public").

Re:so? (0, Troll)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202101)

Ok, new question. Why are people all over the country paying for something that only people in Redmond are benefiting from ? Why don't the people in Redmond pay for it using municipal funds ?

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202233)

Unless the citizens of Washington paid less in taxes than they are getting from the federal funds then they are paying for it themselves. They are also paying for other things all over the country. It's fungible.

Re:so? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202377)

Agreed. I'd much rather directly pay into a poor states fund instead of handing all of the money to the feds, only to have most of it come right back. It's how the federal government grabbed their power... power of the purse.

Re:so? (5, Insightful)

curunir (98273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202417)

Why are people all over the country paying for something that only people in Redmond are benefiting from?

Because people all over the country pay for a lot of things for people in specific areas of the country. Washinton is a donor state receiving $0.88 for each dollar its citizens paid in Federal income tax [taxfoundation.org] . And given that Microsoft has its headquarters in Redmond, the city and the county are almost assuredly subsidizing at an even higher rate.

If you want to jump on why the rest of us are paying for things in specific areas of the country, you'll want to focus on New Mexico ($2), Alaska ($1.87), West Virginia ($1.83), Mississippi ($1.77), North Dakota ($1.73), Alabama ($1.71), Virginia ($1.66), Montana ($1.58) and South Dakota ($1.49).

And to answer your question from a more philosophical point of view, we all pay for roads to be built all over the country so that we have the freedom to know that we can drive wherever we want to. As a resident of California (a donor state to the tune of $0.79), I could be irked by how much New Mexico gets. But I choose to remember the vacations I've taken to New Mexico and how roads paid for with federal monies enabled me to take those vacations.

Re:so? (2, Interesting)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202491)

The same reason you don't pay for public roads outside of your house; Because it's one of the things you pay taxes for.

Even if the little stretch of road leading up to your property only benefits you and other nearby residents, a fully comprehensive road system that the public can use benefits everyone hugely.

It's better that government try to provide public access to private properties and to design road systems to cope with the traffic they generate than to have a vast network of private roads which may or may not allow public access.

In this case you're talking about 5000 people who won't be clogging up the current road every morning but there will also be other people who will save time using the bypass as they won't have to use the other busier road and their destination may be close to that office. If it was a Microsoft only road which they paid for, these people wouldn't get that benefit and the road network would suffer.

Re:so? (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202569)

The question is, should it be up to the federal government to provide funding for municipal roads ?

IMO the municipal government should be providing for these things. If you want to make the argument that the federal government should be in charge of inter-state highways then fine. But my only question was, can someone please give me a good reason why the federal government should be taxing people all over the country to build public roads when the municipal and state governments are supposed to provide for those things.

Also, income tax is usually not used to pay for roads. We have a gas tax for that. This stimulus money is being taken from income tax and debt. This is a huge deviation in typical government behaviour and I think it's important to note and to discuss that.

Re:so? (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202535)

I know this is in bad taste and I completely expect to get this post modded down, but the moderators are really starting to confuse me here.

Why am I being modded troll ? I'm trying to raise honest arguments against taxation, and at the very least to argue in favour of FAIR taxes. And I'm getting modded troll and flamebait for it. All I'm trying to do is to discuss the issue of taxation, and to point out how I don't feel that this spending project is right. I honestly don't see how this can be interpreted as trolling or flamebait. I feel like I'm being modded down just because the mods don't agree with me.

I'll gladly check the -1 No Karma Bonus on this post, and mod me offtopic if you must, but I think this is a fair question and quite relevant to this discussion.

Re:so? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202431)

That sounds good until you think about the fact that the City of Seattle is getting basically squat and a half out of the stimulus. In other words, rather than fixing traffic in one of the most congested areas in the country, they've decided to cave to Republican pressure and build the overpass.

It's a bit unfortunate that change doesn't seem to be including major cities like Seattle or LA. Perhaps if the rural voters get lucky we won't have any cities at all in the near future.

Things like fixing the electrical grid, fixing the infrastructure in areas which make top 10 lists ought to be higher than stupid minor fixes like that.

Then there's nothing wrong with the Alaskan road (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202043)

Unless it is a toll road which Microsoft owns completely, there is nothing wrong with using public money to build the road.

Have you never heard of allocation of resources according to priority?

It may technically be a public road, but all it's going to benefit is a few Microsoft workers.

Just like the bridge in Alaska was only going to benefit a few people in a remote location already served by ferry.

Do you honestly think there's nothing better to do with $30 million than helping a few thousand Microsoft employees travel across the campus a little faster?

If Microsoft feels they need this for productivity, let them build a Monorail.

Re:Then there's nothing wrong with the Alaskan roa (3, Informative)

Desert_Scarecrow (998677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202335)

You obviously don't live in the area or drive on the 40th street overpass. I do. I don't work for Microsoft, and I would use that road several times per month just in the course of travelling to various entertainment venues. What we have here is a non-story about a project that is useful, estimated to cost between 15-36M, and which Microsoft has already dropped $11M on. Show me how many Seattle businesses are willing to put extra cash of their own (in addition to tax base they already supply) on the line to dig their fancy tunnel. Oh yeah, the only people in Seattle that regularly write checks for public works are retired Microsoft employees...weird.

Re:so? (1, Insightful)

ericferris (1087061) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202047)

Connecting two parts of the company campus? The company should pay for it.

Considering that a majority of Microsoft employees are donating to the Dems, MS should not accept Fed money. It would look like a payback. That would be very awkward.

Re:so? (5, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202207)

Connecting two parts of the company campus? The company should pay for it.

If I understood correctly, it connects two parts of the city. It so happens that each has one part of MS campus in it, so MS will benefit greatly, but they're not the only one to do so (and of course, as TFA says, they do pay for it, just not for all of it).

Re:so? (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202355)

Connecting two parts of the company campus? The company should pay for it.

That depends, Microsoft is a huge company, and they have a massive number of workers that need to get from 'point A' to point 'B', which requires crossing public land. They also pay a massive amount of taxes.

And the bridge would be a great convenience to a lot of Microsoft workers, who so happen to be American citizens, as well.

When they build this bridge, it could effect traffic on other city roads. For example, it could relieve traffic that improves quality of life for individuals and businesses not working for Microsoft.

It could save money on further road expansions and traffic controls that might otherwise need to be added to other roads that are congested due to increasing traffic between parts of their campus, as Microsoft expands.

Microsoft clearly thinks it will benefit them directly or indirectly, I mean, it's clear because they're paying half of it, which also makes it a loss less expensive than certain alternatives.

It's definitely not clean-cut that Microsoft is the only beneficiary here, such that they should pay for it.

For one thing, the bridge will be public property, and it will cross public property, or require the local government to buy-out private property owners, so it makes sense the government will pay for what they own.

Only the government has eminent domain privileges, so only the government can really be assured of being able to even complete the necessary pre-requisites for this project.

Microsoft may have a lot of cash, but they aren't experts in the road construction and maintenance business, and the liability risks of owning a road are massive, and not something they should have to take on.

Anymore than Microsoft should have to PAY for the right to have police officers come to investigate a crime, or to have to build and pay for their own police force.

Simply put.. roads are a government service, just like police, fire, emergency response units, military, etc.

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202619)

Considering that a majority of Microsoft employees are donating to the Dems, MS should not accept Fed money. It would look like a payback. That would be very awkward.

As awkward as Barney Frank "overseeing" Fannie Mae, where his boyfriend was an executive? As awkward as Maxine Waters directing bailout money to a bank she is a large shareholder in? As awkward as Chris Dodd receiving special treatment from Countrywide?

Re:so? (5, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202049)

The City of Redmond thinks the project has value as well for traffic in other parts of the city. MS is picking up half the cost because they're the main beneficiary.

I'm the first one to scalp MS or jump on wasteful spending, but this doesn't seem that bad. It'll provide a lot of construction jobs, ease traffic on other roads in Redmond. I supposed you could argue there are other bridge and road projects in Washington that need the money worse. But as long as it's a public roadway and not some kind of gated private road...to me this doesn't seem to be in the same class as the Bridge to Nowhere.

Re:so? (3, Insightful)

dwhitaker (1500855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202295)

I think that most people would agree with you right now considering the economy. The only reason this is news-worthy at all is that Microsoft is the primary beneficiary and the mention of their name alone seems to make everything controversial.

Are you insane?! (4, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202053)

It's Micro$oft!!!!11eleven!

Do you know how many american babies they will have to sacrifice per square inch of that road?
I didn't think so! /sarcasm

Hey... how about the view-point that Microsoft is actually paying for half of that road - which WILL NOT BE MICROSOFT PROPERTY ONCE BUILT.
Or... the fact that it appears that the community actually needs that overpass.

Easing Congestion

The city of Redmond says the overpass will relieve congestion on other streets and support a big employer in the region, though one cutting jobs lately.
Microsoft said in January that it's eliminating as many as 5,000 jobs, including some from its Seattle-area workforce of 41,480.

"This project is a mobility improvement for the area as a whole," said Lou Gellos, a spokesman for Microsoft.
An existing bridge a few blocks away is congested and a nightmare for pedestrians and bicycle riders, he said.

Re:Are you insane?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202469)

And when the next round of job cuts hit it will be somewhere handy for the fired to jump off

Re:Are you insane?! (1, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202601)

WILL NOT BE MICROSOFT PROPERTY ONCE BUILT.

I would just like to point out, this also means they don't have to maintain it, the tax payers do.

Microsoft can certainly pay for it themselves, we've all been paying the god damn Windows tax for years, like it or not, let'em build their own damn roads. Or decentralize some more so the population isn't so dense.

Just shows Microsoft (and Redmond) haven't learned anything from the Internet or diversified networks.

Re:so? (1)

BlatOdea (992190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202077)

Using public money borrowed against future generations, to build an unnecessary private bridge for one of the most profitable companies in America.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with that!

/heavy_sarcasm

Re:so? (1, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202219)

Using public money borrowed against future generations, to build an unnecessary private bridge for one of the most profitable companies in America.

I can take you for a drive not far from here and show you roads, bridges, exits and overpasses built for several profitable multi-national companies. In fact, many times those highly profitable companies demanded those amenities in exchange for locating facilities in those areas. In exchange for their mere presence they not only forced states to borrow against future generations, but they got tax breaks which will also fall on future generations. I know at least some of the funds used in construction were state highway funds, some of which come from the federal government.

So in spite of all that we're going to level snippy sarcasm at Microsoft because they're footing half the bill for a road project that benefits the entire community. At least they're not asking for a new railroad spur, or ship canal. Come on, now. A little perspective on this one. It's not like Bill Gates is asking the nation to foot the bill for his private runway, or a special exit off the highway for his house.

Re:so? (1)

BlatOdea (992190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202481)

Thanks for enlightening me. I don't know much about such things, but it still seems petty in light of current events. Also, I did indeed read TFA, and saying that it "benefits the entire community" still seems a bit of a stretch to me.

Re:so? (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202147)

Yes, there is something wrong with taking my money and giving it to the wealthy.

Re:so? (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202351)

I'm sorry, what will Microsoft have been 'given' when this is finished?

Just to give you a clue, it won't be a bridge.

Re:so? (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202413)

Did you not read the article? Or my post?

Taxpayer money is being spent to directly benefit Microsoft. Where did I say they would be given a bridge?

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202309)

Unless it is a toll road which Microsoft owns completely, there is nothing wrong with using public money to build the road.

Being from Washington, what most of you don't realize is that the rest of us non-microsoft people will benefit more from this than the MS people do. MS traffic around here is terrible.

Get off your soap box and get real.

It will help the public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27201939)

Just read, it is going to help with the trafic flow, nothing wrong with that.

Good Job MS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27201949)

Before they lay off US workers, then they ask them money back, then they ask for more H1B to import more foreign workers (from Hairyland), then they suck .gov money to build their own infrastructure.

Microsoft gets stimulus funds for volcano lair (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27201957)

It will really boost the economy.
Film at 11.

I haven't got a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27201961)

There is no problem with this.... so long as they are required to close all of their tax shelter shell companies in Ireland and the Bahamas and be taxed properly. Otherwise, its a bridge too far.

Waste (3, Insightful)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27201975)

Public works projects as a way of recovering from a recession has never worked. It didn't work for the Japanese in the 90's, they spent 10 years building roads and bridges and wondering why nothing was happening. It didn't work for us in the 30's. And it will never work.

We need to stop listening to Keynesian and socialist economists who don't have the first clue what they're talking about and are trying to give solutions based on theory instead of what's been shown to work.

You want to turn this economy around? Cut taxes to 20%, max. Reduce regulations on small businesses \ cut the red tape.

The government cannot create jobs except government jobs, and government jobs do not build an economy. All government can do is get out of the way, and keep the playing field fair for the players.

Keynesian Economics (1, Interesting)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202059)

What do you mean Keynesian economics doesn't work? It kept FDR in power, didn't it? It justified a huge increase in government power, didn't it?

Keynesian economics are only a failure if you care about actual prosperity instead of duping people into letting you run the country.

Minor Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202317)

s/run/ruin/

Re:Keynesian Economics (0, Troll)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202451)

Keynesian economics are only a failure if you care about actual prosperity instead of duping people into letting you run the country.

No. Keynesian economics have been proven to be quite sucessful. It's only a moronic right-wing talking point that keeps trying to refute it, with NO evidence to support the claim.

Study after study has proven the benefits.

Re:Waste (2, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202135)

Cut taxes to 20%, max.

I wonder what I could buy if I had 80% of my money. Oh, wait, sales tax would also be 20%? Guvmint's gotta get its fix somehow.

Re:Waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202301)

I dunno. I buy a lot of things online and there's no sales tax.

Re:Waste (3, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202323)

I live in Finland, and I generally don't have a beef with the gov't taking a substantial proportion of my income. Sure, part of it goes to things I think we could live without (new helicopters for the military, construction of music halls, etc). However, knowing that my taxes are used to support things such as basic infrastructure, the social security system and universal healthcare, makes me happy to be able to pay them. Because who knows, maybe someday I'll find myself unemployed, without an income, and relying on that safety net I've helped uphold.

Re:Waste (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202511)

I wonder what I could buy if I had 80% of my money. Oh, wait, sales tax would also be 20%? Guvmint's gotta get its fix somehow.

I wonder how much money you'd be making in the first place without your reaping of the benefits all those government programs your taxes are paying for...

Public schools? Public roads? Police force? Hospitals? Cheap electricity? Clean water? Advanced technology (NASA, DARPA, the internet, etc.)?

The idea that the money we pay in taxes is purely a detriment to us is ridiculous, as is the belief that we can endlessly cut the amount of taxes we pay, with the government still having enough money to pay for all the services we all expect of them.

Yes, I cringe when I look at the taxes withheld from my pay-check, but I can quite easily live well despite the cash difference.

Of course, you're welcome to point out where taxes are being spent that is legitimately WASTEFUL, but I bet all the questionable projects you can come up with won't result in a 0.1% reduction in taxes.

Re:Waste (4, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202177)

Because the term "Keynesian economics" is being used so much, we might as well inform those who have no idea what you and I and the rest of us free-market people are talking about.

John Maynard Keynes [wikipedia.org] was a British economist in the early 1900's. He wrote a book called "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money" which basically outlined various interventionist policies that the government could employ and what short-term effects they would have on the economy. It was very highly refuted but it gave the government a bunch of easy answers and policies that would ultimately expand government control, yet would be easy to sell to the public. Keynes' work is highly taught by government-subsidized Universities all over the world. Almost anyone taking economics at a University level will be taught "Keynesian Economics".

Anyone who wants to hear both sides of the argument should pick up a copy of General Theory as well as Henry Hazzlitt's "Failure of the New Economics" which is one of the best refutations of Keynes' principles.

Re:Waste (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202263)

Fuck the Austrian school! Why is it ALWAYS the Austrians with the libertarians?

At least cite Milton Friedman [wikipedia.org] for a good critique of excessive government spending. He at least believed in a modern monetary policy, and wasn't advocating the goddamn gold standard. Can you even come up with a less realistic metric for a world economy than gold?

Re:Waste (4, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202415)

Sure I can come up with something way worse than gold: paper. The gold standard was considered unstable, and we did have a panic of 1907 that got the public behind paper money, however, comparing the stability of gold to paper is a joke. Paper money has been highly unstable and since it's introduction there has been nothing but inflation.

Money needs to be an economic good in order to be used as money. In other words, it has to have value as used as something *other* than money. Because it is a medium of indirect exchange. In order really understand it's significance it helps to imagine a world with no concept of "money".

Let's say that you're a dairy farmer. You can't stockpile milk indefinitely, and you can't sell enough milk in one day to pay for everything that you need. You need something that you can exchange your milk for that will be small, convenient, easy to save and extremely easy to trade later on. That's how money evolved. People have used rice, salt, pepper, gold, silver etc. Now we're using paper and the only reason it has any value what-so-ever is because the government forces us to use it. Yet every single time the government prints a new dollar it's value diminishes because there is more of it. Eventually the currency becomes worthless. In fact, it's not even proper to call fiat currency money. Originally it was a claim that be redeemed for money, until the government cut that off and forced everyone to trade worthless pieces of paper called banknotes. Why would they do that ? Because having a real asset backing the currency prevents them from running the presses excessively and limits their control and ability to expand their own projects. Only when they run the presses eventually the currency becomes worthless.

The US dollar is worth about 3 or 4 cents compared to what it was in 1913, when the Federal Reserve was created. Giving a central authority, even if it's the government, complete control over the creation of money always results in runaway inflation. Every single country in world history that has tried paper money has run it into the ground. Every single one.

I agree with a lot of Friedman's views but that one issue I STRONGLY disagree with him on. We don't have to use gold, although what I would like to see at the very least is the abolition of laws that prevent people from using gold if they so wish. Government should not be dictating the terms of contracts. I've heard some arguments in favour of legal tender laws (the courts will need to decide what to to be used in civil cases etc. legal tender simplifies that), but Canada doesn't have any law determining what people can use in contracts. No one is forced to trade the Canadian dollar in Canada, even stores don't have to accept the Canadian dollar if they don't want to. People should be able to trade with whatever they want, and legal tender must be backed by *something*.

Re:Waste (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202513)

The relative value of currency over a period of time has absolutely nothing to do with the actual standard of living in a country...If we wanted to, we could adopt a tight monetary policy and jack the relative value of our currency through the roof. It'd also spawn massive deflation, and basically end farming and manufacturing in this country.

The idea that a physical anchor (e.g. the gold standard) is going to magically stem inflation or stabilize markets is naive. All you're really doing is screwing with the price of a commodity.

Anyway, the money is backed by something: your country. Paper money is like stock; if people want your stock, the relative value of your money goes up. If no one wants your stock, the relative value of your money goes down.

And if you need to raise money, you increase the amount of your stock in circulation. This part is the important part: you can't do that if your currency is based on a fixed commodity. Lot of Austrian school people would say, "So what?" but credit and credit markets are hugely important to global prosperity.

Now obviously, if your country behaves like a Wall Street Investment bank, your money is going to crash. But if your country is well managed and run, then your currency is going to stay valuable.

Re:Waste (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202299)

Bad economic models lead to even worse politics.
Sakdoctor's Leave it the fuck alone school of economics.

Oh, and I talked to many economic students at university. They progressively developed this ability, to bury common sense under layers of bullshit, until they even convinced themselves.
See also: Securitization

Go Crawl Back Under Your Rock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202195)

Your failed ideology's shelf date ended two months ago.

No one wants to listen to your idiotic babble.

Re:Waste (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202221)

Yeah, there was one scary thing Obama said when reporters accused the stimulus bill of being a spending bill, he said, "Of course it's a spending bill. Spending is how you stimulate the economy." While in part spending can help, the majority of the bill was actually NOT targeted towards growth, I kind of think of it as the "Pelosi Party Victory Bill," in that the democrats won, so now they want their turn to spend on what they want; for example, extending health-care benefits to the unemployed. Sure it helps them out, but it's not really stimulus. Indiscriminate spending doesn't make the economy grow: if you really want to stimulate, you need to spend it in the right places (building up the infrastructure surely would help).

Spending the way we are it won't be long before China and Japan decide they don't want to finance our debts anymore. China is already getting worried. I sure wouldn't buy US treasury bonds right now, I don't trust them. Congress has become like one of those credit card addicts that thinks he can always get a higher credit limit as long as he can pay the minimum.

I am in favor of change, but the direction Obama is going is kind of making me raise eyebrows. Bush's deficit spending scared me, but Obama will have added more than Bush to the deficit by the end of his third year. That is scary.

You misunderstand what is happening. (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202327)

The government are not creating jobs. That is simply a side effect. They can't realistically fly over American towns in helicopters and drop dollar notes, though that would probably be as effective.

What they are doing by performing useless public works is transferring private debt to the public purse. The government borrows and spends, the spending pays off the private debts.

 

Re:Waste (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202429)

Public works projects as a way of recovering from a recession has never worked.

Public works by themselves can't fix a broken economy, but they can be a useful part of a solution if done right.

It didn't work for the Japanese in the 90's, they spent 10 years building roads and bridges and wondering why nothing was happening. It didn't work for us in the 30's. And it will never work.

I gave ten bucks to a homeless guy and he was begging again later that day. Obviously giving money to the poor doesn't help them significantly. See the logical fallacy? An example does not make something a truism.

We need to stop listening to Keynesian and socialist economists who don't have the first clue what they're talking about and are trying to give solutions based on theory instead of what's been shown to work.

Yeah, if only there were countries with higher standards of living an more stable economies and higher median wealth than the US. We could do what they do. Oh, wait there are such countries and they almost all implement socialist programs you are claiming don't work.

You want to turn this economy around? Cut taxes to 20%, max.

Tax cuts haven't worked in practice and credible economist will tell you there isn't even a viable theory as to how that would work. Trickle down economics has failed. The biggest proponents among economist, even die hards like Greenspan, have abandoned it. The wealth has consolidated at the top and it isn't trickling back down. The only people still advocating that nonsense are paid publications trying to provide PR materials for policies no reputable economist will touch.

educe regulations on small businesses \ cut the red tape.

Yeah, reducing regulations has helped a lot too. It results in businesses that pass on a lot of the costs of their doing business to the rest of society.

The government cannot create jobs except government jobs, and government jobs do not build an economy.

Our tax dollars funded the research and equipment that was the internet. Our tax dollars funded the universities who expanded it and built the software to make it useful. It has created millions of jobs that are not government jobs and makes up a huge part of the world economy. Government spending can and does create more jobs and bring more growth to the economy than the same money spent by the private sector. It doesn't always. The spending has to be carefully picked for that purpose, but it certainly can and has done so in the past.

All government can do is get out of the way, and keep the playing field fair for the players.

That's the problem. The playing field is not fair. We'd like to think our economy is a meritocracy, but it isn't. Wealth is mostly transferred by inheritance and with our current tax policies pretty much every economic model predicts wealth will continue to consolidate into fewer hands, the middle class will shrink, and the lower class will grow. Reducing taxes across the board accelerates this process. The only thing that will change it is a complete wealth redistribution ala revolution, or increasing the progressiveness of taxes to take some of that money back from the high end, enough to at least balance out wealth condensation. Then, that money needs to be put back into the economy on the low end, raising the overall wealth of the poor. One way that has worked in many other countries is socialized medicine, where the consolidated nature usually leads to greater efficiency overall.

I can go on and go into detail, but I think a lot of people here don't have much of a grasp on economics. Our economic crisis s not that we don't have enough money. The problem is the money is too inequitably distributed (just like during the great depression) and this leads to a volatile stock market and overall loss of wealth as it is lost during the transfer process (e.g. empty houses losing value and deteriorating and pulling all property values down). People who work hard and smart in our economy do okay, but not nearly so well as people who fund them with money they simply inherited. The trend needs to be reversed and the government having less influence will speed up the trend, not reverse it.

Microsoft doesn't need this. (1)

techwizrd (1164023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27201985)

Give it to someone more deserving, like small business. Like the summary said, this is just pocket change for Microsoft.

I would say something about Microsoft being more interested about building bridges and software, but I wouldn't be surprised if they fail at this too. It seems everything Microsoft builds has shaky foundations. XP

Who should pay for infrastructure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202013)

Land owners profit from improvements in infrastructure, so they should pay for it [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Who should pay for infrastructure? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202079)

No. For example, if the government wants to put a new highway in near my house, does my property value go up if it was formerly in the middle of nowhere? Yes. But did I want that highway? Did I even have a vote on whether or not a highway gets built? Probably not. So in essence you would be taxing me for something that I didn't approve. Again, taxation without representation is tyranny. And while in this case MS undoubtedly had some say in building the road and where it was, for most small businesses and individual landowners, they don't have any say, and if they do it is only one vote.

Re:Who should pay for infrastructure? (1)

Desert_Scarecrow (998677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202275)

"Taxation without representation is tyranny."

That's true. Fortunately for all of us here in Redmond, we have a representative republic in which we vote on the people who make these decisions. If the majority of stakeholders felt the way you do and elected a city council that opposed growth, then you wouldn't get the highway.

Since D.C. residents got the vote, I think you would be hard pressed to find many places in the U.S. anymore that are without representation. Just because your representation doesn't win all of the time, or because your representation represents the majority of the area you live in and not your personal views, doesn't make it tyranny.

Re:Who should pay for infrastructure? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202331)

But increasing taxes on something you cannot control is. For example, if I choose to work less hours I pay less taxes, if I choose to buy less things I pay less taxes, if I choose to work more I pay more taxes, if I choose to buy more I pay more taxes, but in this case if the people who are not you choose to put something in you pay more taxes. Now, if this was an across the board thing it wouldn't be that bad but when voters can choose to raise taxes without having to pay the taxes themselves, that is taxation without representation.

Re:Who should pay for infrastructure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202357)

You did not produce the land and you did not produce the highway so the Land Value Tax is usually a tax on something you profit from without working for it.

Now in your example you say you don't want the highway. But the value of your house rises. That means other market participants think the highway there is a good idea. So you can probably rent out some rooms. A Land Value Tax creates pressure on you to do that. Or to sell your home. You might find that totalitarian. But you reduce other people's freedom simply by existing since you and me, like everybody else, take up space. I am fine with taxing people for taking up space to motivate them to take up less.

Re:Who should pay for infrastructure? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202449)

But you reduce other people's freedom simply by existing since you and me, like everybody else, take up space.

Freedom to do what? Freedom to use my land for whatever? No, that is not freedom, that is chaos (or if the government mandates that, that is tyranny, but thats for a different post). You have no natural freedoms to do anything with things that people own, you have (or at least, in a free society should have), freedom to do whatever on the land you own provided it does not violate the rights of other people. And you have the freedom to do whatever with the things you own so long as it doesn't affect the freedoms of other people. I honestly don't get how me owning a house that happens to be close to a highway that is put in decreases anyone else's freedoms.

I am fine with taxing people for taking up space to motivate them to take up less.

So you are advocating communism? Sorry, but just about every communist state that didn't utterly collapse sacrificed many of Marx's ideas, and the few remaining prosperous communist states are introducing more capitalism, and with more capitalism comes more growth. Communism, or de facto communism (by taxing the wealthy so much that they are reduced from a wealthy class) has always failed, and failed horribly.

Re:Who should pay for infrastructure? (1)

linuxrocks123 (905424) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202509)

Property tax isn't communism. It's very close to a land tax, which is the economically perfect tax. Calling one thing something else doesn't make it so, it just makes it harder to talk with you.

I could have modded you down, but I decided to argue with you instead. I knocked off my karma bonus in case I fed a troll here.

---linuxrocks123

Re:Who should pay for infrastructure? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202565)

I wasn't talking about the property tax, I was talking about the fact that he seemed to claim that because I took up space it justified taxes because it reduced other people's freedom, and to support me to sell off my land. And by taxing me to promote the selling of my land was a good thing. I don't see how either A) Me owning land violates anyone's freedoms and B) Why motivating me to sell my land would be a good thing (especially today in the USA where we have tons of land at rock-bottom prices but very few buyers).

Re:Who should pay for infrastructure? (1)

linuxrocks123 (905424) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202635)

Theoretically, you should not need motivation to sell your land, because, if you're using your land inefficiently, the free market will take care of providing a buyer who is willing to pay you enough to motivate you to sell your land to him. However, in practice, property tax might be necessary to provide an incentive for someone to sell land that he doesn't really need but just wants to keep and use inefficiently since he happened to have it. Property tax in this case provides an incentive not to do that: cost motivates some people much more than lost profit.

---linuxrocks123

The real news item (2, Insightful)

bandannarama (87670) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202055)

is that a commercial entity is ponying up half the cost for something that could/should be handled by the government. From TFA:

"This project is a mobility improvement for the area as a whole," said Lou Gellos, a spokesman for Microsoft. An existing bridge a few blocks away is congested and a nightmare for pedestrians and bicycle riders, he said.

So, we have the relatively common phenomenon that commercial development has outgrown the infrastructure. Big deal. Usually the government handles this as part of its own work, without direct commercial assistance. In this case, MSFT is offering money to help solve the problem. They deserve kudos, not punishment, since they could alternatively be lobbying/strongarming the relevant government entities to foot the bill at 100%.

Even if you hold the (inane) view that MSFT should foot the bill at 100%, they don't have the authority to just build a bridge over any highway they want. So you need some kind of legislation anyway.

Do we have all the facts? (3, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202083)

How much does Microsoft pay in local property taxes? I would hope they have paid in a lot more than the cost of this project. Local governments are almost always willing to make concessions to businesses that make up a large part of their tax base by contributing to property taxes, state income taxes (by providing jobs), and sales taxes (which Microsoft pays very little of, not being a retail business). I would expect them to do similar improvements for a shopping mall, why not a tech firm? If the local government is giving them a free ride on property taxes AND subsidizing this improvement, then yes, local taxpayers have a right to be pissed off. But since a good number of people in Redmond owe their livelihood to M$ either directly or indirectly, I'd expect most of the taxpayers to keep their mouths shut. Plus, doesn't this overpass benefit everybody by keeping some cars off of the main highway?

Re:Do we have all the facts? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202193)

The problem is that none of that necessarily justifies spending federal dollars. Redmond and (state of) Washington dollars? Probably.

This is nuts (-1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202165)

Ok, mod me down but this guy that you people put in charge is a socialist nut case that needs to be tried for treason for refusing to uphold his oath to protect the constitution.

Re:This is nuts (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202293)

Really? I fail to see how instituting socialist economic policies is equivalent to treason, or even violating the constitution. Is there some other incident on your mind?

Re:This is nuts (0, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202379)

This country was built on a foundation of a Republic. Anything that works to undermine/undo that is treason.

Re:This is nuts (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202561)

"Republic" refers to form of government.

"Socialism" refers to an economic system.

Setting aside for the moment the fact that Obama's policies don't come close to actual socialism, it would be quite possible to have a republican (small r) form of government that supported socialist economic policies.

Re:This is nuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202313)

No, knee-jerk reactions in cases that you have not even a small part of the facts... That's nuts.

Facts? (0, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202395)

Plenty of facts out there if you take the time to remove the blinders and look. ( and then use your brain afterwards )

Re:This is nuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202383)

You know, the whole idea of building highways on government money was though up by Hitler! And then immigrant Nazi scientists got the same wasteful highway projects approved in the good old US after the war. Stopping all that "public roadway" nonsense was the only decent thing Bush ever did.

Re:This is nuts (2, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202611)

Ok, mod me down but this guy that you people put in charge is a socialist nut case...

Socialism. It's probably one of the most confusing and misunderstood terms in the US. Partly this is because it is a political movement separate from it being an economic method. Party this is because there was a huge propaganda campaign in the US to spread fear about it as part of a campaign against Asia in the cold war.

Listen to me carefully. Every president ever has been a socialist. Every economist is a socialist to a fair degree or they are insane. Socialism has always been part of our economic system and trying to eliminate it entirely would destroy the economy. Every stable economy in the world is a balance of socialism and capitalism (and communism, but there's no need to get into that right now).

The highway department, post office, military, police, fire department, public schools, NASA, and the FDA are all socialist programs. Socialist programs were established as part of our government from day one. Obama is working to increase the level of socialism in the US. That makes him moderately informed about economics and is pretty much what every reputable economist says is required to reduce the volatility of our stock market and return wealth disparity to sane levels. He's advocating policies that have worked in numerous other countries. Sure it is socialism, but you have to understand socialism is nothing new and not some bogey monster. If we're going to get our economy back on track, socialism coupled with more progressive taxation on the high end is pretty close to the only viable route. You can't lower taxes for people who aren't paying any now. They can't gain wealth starting from their current state. (Try playing monopoly where you start out with $5 and the other guy starts with $50000, but is willing to loan you enough to get started, provided he gets 2/3 of any profit you make. Sure, you could win, but it isn't likely and if you play every day, you will lose overall.)

So, do you have a sane counter proposal or are you just a extreme capitalist nut case with no real understanding of the problem?

Seattle Roads (1)

fractalVisionz (989785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202191)

How about putting that money into improving the deplorable roads of Seattle proper. Despite not using salt come snowy conditions, the roads and especially the highways are full of pot holes. No wonder why everyone actually drives speed limits here, if you go faster parts of your car will start falling off.

Obligatory "I hate MS as much as the next guy" ... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202209)

I hate Microsoft as much as the next guy - but last time I checked, the folks working at Microsoft were taxpayers too, and so deserve to benefit from federal spending related to infrastructure.

I am NOT a fan of the stimulus package as passed. I am in favor of the concept (I lean Keynesian, not Austrian School); but it seems to me a very large chunk of this smells more like opportunistic pork-barrel politics. To pick an example: Funding for diabetes education. I think as part of the normal federal budget this is a very good use of federal funds - but its benefits are all down the road, and have absolutely nothing to do with stimulating the economy in the short term. Funding these sorts of things with intentional deficit spending is only making the situation worse.

As someone who lives in the area... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202231)

Let me tell you that traffic congestion is terrible in the Seattle area, specially the east cost, a trip that should take 15 minutes could very easily take up to 2 hours. For me it seems as if much of the problem is that the city of Redmond and Bellevue couldn't keep pace with Microsoft's growth and now the streets are overwhelmed.

If this really will eliminate most of Microsoft employees commute then let it be, and if you want to complain about it I invite you to experience the joy of driving in the east side.

You have it backwards (3, Insightful)

taustin (171655) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202271)

Were this any lesser company, 100% of the cost would be paid for by tax dollars. That Microsoft is contributing half is either a sginficant act of generosity on their part, or a major triumph of democracy over corporate greed and corruption. Either way, it's a victory for taxpayers.

It was a similar situation when Disneyland wanted their own exit on the I-5 in Anaheim. There were significant reasons from the taxpayers point of view to do this - it greatly improved traffic in that section of the freeway, and throughout that part of Anaheim - but Disney still ended up paying for a significant portion of the cost. (In their case, it was a damned good investment in their wholly owned subsidiary, the city of Anaheim.)

missed focus... (2)

prndll (1425091) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202403)

Why so much attention for a questionable road when that road only takes a small portion of the money that is allocated? What about the rest of the money? how about focusing on the larger picture?

Typical Unimaginative Solution From Redmond (3, Funny)

deanston (1252868) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202433)

Real FOSS nerds would just build a catapult, a flying car, or teleporter to get across. Green engineers would have demanded that 2 UNDER-passes be built, one for humans to bicycle across, and another for critters that live in the woods to have corridors connecting their shrinking landscape. Apple or Google would plan on building light rails or trams that will eventually connect all their campuses and stores. IBM would just hire only illegal Mexican workers skilled at running across highways. Obviously Seattle isn't the most innovative regional planners they purport to be. Wimps.

Read the Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202447)

As the article states, this project was approved by Redmond in 2006 and at the time Microsoft agreed to kick in 70% of the costs. Given that this construction is public property and not Microsoft's property generally the government would be footing the entire bill. It was determined recently that the costs of the overpass would exceed the estimate and the city of Redmond decided that instead of asking Microsoft to contribute more that they would seek Federal funds via the stimulus bill.

So,

1. This project was in planning for at least two years.
2. This project will alleviate traffic congestion on public roads in Redmond.
3. Microsoft volunteered 70% of the costs whereas they are neither obligated nor expected to contribute at all, beyond normal corporate and property taxes.
4. The roads, overpass and highways are all property of Redmond, not Microsoft.
5. When the estimate was determined to be too low Redmond decided to not request additional funds from Microsoft.
6. Redmond decided to seek funds from the Federal stimulus bill. Microsoft made no such request.

Of course this has to be all Microsoft's fault because this is Slashdot.

Aaand... what did you expect? (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202547)

Of course this has to be all Microsoft's fault because this is Slashdot.

A website that depicts Microsoft as the embodiment of the Borg collective, the Empire and the army of Sauron all in one, what else do you think would be the outcome? Hmmm?

Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202465)

This money could be put to any number of better uses. How about homeless shelters for all of the people M$ has put out of business?

Sounds like someone's going a bridge too far (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202503)

*ducks*

I live in the area... (2, Informative)

Jbain (1453725) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202519)

... and let me tell you, this will help more than just MS. The freeways and roads in the area are actually surprisingly limited. During rush hour you can expect 3mi+ backups just to get off the freeway. The current on-ramps and overpasses for 520(which is the freeway i'm assuming this will go over) are also pretty limited. Just getting from one side to the other is a pain in the butt, and a lot of that traffic is just MS workers or their shuttles going between buildings. If all of the inter-MS traffic can be re-routed somewhere else, it frees up the roads for the thousands of residents and other workers in the area.

$29.99 Earmarked for Linus' Portland Penguin Pool (1)

theodp (442580) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202559)

How come nobody's complaining about this [playmobilusa.com] ?

Eyewitness report (2, Informative)

evilsofa (947078) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202597)

I live a block down the road from the Microsoft Redmond campus (it used to be 12 blocks, but they metatasized), so I walk by all this each day. But I don't work at Microsoft, so all I have is just sidewalk testimony.

The older Microsoft campus was confined to the east side of highway 520, with dozens and dozens of properties rented and scattered all over Redmond, Bellevue, and other places in the area. Lately they have been building an absolutely HUGE property just across the highway from the old campus, where they will consolidate all that rented office space.

Only 7 new buildings? When I walk by there, I can see at least 14 or 17 structures going up, but I can't tell what will be in them. Some of them are titled buildings number 97, 98, 99, and by that they mean Microsoft Redmond campus literally has that many buildings. The city of Redmond has a height limit on its buildings. I don't know the exact rules, but no skyscrapers. The Microsoft buildings are all about 4 or 5 very tall stories, so they are forced to sprawl rather than go up. When they dug the hole for it all, it seemed to be about 6-12 blocks on a side. Huge, huge hole for that 4600 car parking garage. Then they put up more of those big construction cranes than I've ever seen in such a small space - at one point they had 9 or 10 of them.

With that huge parking garage right next to the highway, they should have just let Microsoft have highway entrances directly out onto 520 and keep all that traffic off the local streets. That would make perfect sense to me. But it exits out onto NE 40th Street, which is a relatively small cross-street, which has relatively small entrance and exits to 520.

There is already a bridge across 520 between the Microsoft campuses - the NE 40th overpass and intersection with 520. Also, Microsoft has a huge fleet of hundreds of shuttle buses and cars that transfer people from point to point in the Microsoft sprawl. My reaction as a local to the idea of a car and pedestrian bridge for Microsoft is that, while it would be beneficial to the locals to keep some of the terrible Microsoft drivers off the local streets (a lot of them are from India!), Microsoft should foot the entire bill.
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  • dd
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  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>