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Microsoft Government The Almighty Buck News

"Bridge To Microsoft" Gets Federal Stimulus Funds 343

Posted by kdawson
from the them-as-has dept.
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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"Bridge To Microsoft" Gets Federal Stimulus Funds

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  • so? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @03:46PM (#27201933) Homepage

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

  • Re:so? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @03:49PM (#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.
  • Waste (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anenome (1250374) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @03:50PM (#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.

  • Re:so? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by steve.howard (988489) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @03:54PM (#27202003)
  • Re:so? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ericferris (1087061) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @03:58PM (#27202047) Homepage

    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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @03:59PM (#27202049) Homepage

    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.

  • Are you insane?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denzacar (181829) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @03:59PM (#27202053) Journal

    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.

  • The real news item (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bandannarama (87670) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @03:59PM (#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.

  • Re:so? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lymond01 (314120) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:00PM (#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:Waste (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:06PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garett_spencley (193892) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:11PM (#27202177) Journal

    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:so? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yppupcinataS.> on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:13PM (#27202197) Journal

    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? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:16PM (#27202219) Homepage

    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:Waste (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yppupcinataS.> on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:20PM (#27202263) Journal

    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?

  • by taustin (171655) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:21PM (#27202271) Homepage Journal

    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.)

  • Re:so? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dwhitaker (1500855) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:23PM (#27202295) Homepage
    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.
  • Re:Waste (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:25PM (#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:so? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:28PM (#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? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:29PM (#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:Waste (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garett_spencley (193892) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:35PM (#27202415) Journal

    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:so? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by curunir (98273) * on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:36PM (#27202417) Homepage Journal

    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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert AT chromablue DOT net> on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:36PM (#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:Waste (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:36PM (#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 dur

  • Re:so? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:50PM (#27202543) Homepage Journal

    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? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @04:57PM (#27202605) Homepage

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 15, 2009 @05:02PM (#27202641)

    Yes. Relieving the middle class of their cash through inflation and interest, and placing that cash in the pockets of rich bankers does have benefits. For the bankers.

    For the rest of us, the national debt spirals out of control, personal debt spirals out of control, the dollar drops in value each year (all of these in a compound growth curve), while our wages increase in a linear, far slower fashion. We have less and less resources to deal with more and more debt needed to make up for our shortfall in income relative to the value of our money.

    I'm not a Republican or a Neocon by any stretch, but Keynesian economics of "inflation" (or devaluation, as I prefer to call it) are not beneficial to the common middle class slob. They're only beneficial to the upper crust.

  • Re:so? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aevans (933829) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @05:16PM (#27202783) Homepage
    Microsoft and it's employees *are* the community. Believe it or not, real live people (often citizens) work at corporations. Microsoft employees paid the taxes that will fund the overpass. (Actually, I think the supposed overpass has already existed for about 10 years.) And don't worry about the other projects in the state of Washington that *need* it more. They wouldn't get funded anyway no matter what. They haven't yet, and there's been plenty of money in the state budget for a long time now.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @05:20PM (#27202815) Homepage Journal

    Were this any lesser company, 100% of the cost would be paid for by tax dollars.

    Really? The little fact that the bridge goes between two parts of a private facility wouldn't be an issue?

    It was a similar situation when Disneyland wanted their own exit on the I-5 in Anaheim.

    There may have been a similar level of screaming about private entities benefiting from public money, but it's hardly a comparable project. A freeway offramp is part of the public infrastructure. A bridge connecting two pieces of private property is not.

    Mind you, I'm not saying this bridge is a bad idea. It makes sense if building it eases traffic congestion more than spending the same amount of money improving the public freeway. But I doubt that the controversy would be at this level if they'd decided to do that instead, cost effective or not.

  • What annoys me.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @05:47PM (#27203133) Homepage
    How is it MS needs to lay-off employees but can throw 36.5 million on this?

    The state should not give tax payer money to a monopolistic company damaging the local economy by laying off people when clearly they didn't financially need to.
  • That's a lot of jobs. When you realize that some cities would fork over hundreds of millions in annual tax abatements just to get that many jobs, pitching in on a bridge is not a bad deal.

  • Re:so? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 15, 2009 @06:13PM (#27203375)
    How pathetic, somebody inquires about the types of traffic going over said roads, and suggests the possibility of mass transit improvements even within MS's campus, and is labeled flamebait... The inquiry seemed genuine enough to me, and is definitely a valid point to bring up.
  • Re:Pure Parasites. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Your.Master (1088569) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @06:34PM (#27203659)

    Okay, twitter:

    1) Microsoft still pays huge amounts of taxes to the locale so it is certainly not a burden. You can bicker about whether it's as much a boon as it should be but there's no question it's a boon to the city.
    2) Why don't more MS employees live in Redmond? Are you serious? Where do you live where everybody works within 3 miles of where they live.
    3) This "bridge" is not on private property. It's on public property. It's not only to serve Microsoft. It connects two points in Redmond that happen both to have Microsoft offices. It also benefits, for example, Nintendo and Boeing. And everybody in Redmond.
    4) The 40000 people of Redmond should fund the basic public infrastructure of their city because that's the role of the government of Redmond.

    Then the Ireland thing comes completely out of nowhere.

  • by CokoBWare (584686) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @06:45PM (#27203769)
    If you lived in Redmond, WA, you'd know why the article's author is full of shit. Try commuting from main campus, and with a company that has had significant expansion over the last few years, commutes are painful, streets are crowded, and traffic is always challenged either with going to or coming from work. There are traffic studies done ALL THE TIME in Redmond, and if you only felt the pain of the congestion in this small town, you'd know that MS didn't have to offer to pay for anything for this bridge, but they are.
  • by taustin (171655) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @06:51PM (#27203819) Homepage Journal

    In point of fact, it is very clear that this bridge will, in fact, be a public road, open to anyone who wishes to use it. And even if no one ever uses who is not a Microsoft employee, it will draw traffic away from other, apparently crowded, roads to use this on instead. That is a direct public benefit to everyone in the area, in the form of reduced congestion on roads around a major employer in the area.

    So, your first qustion is irrelevant, since it is based on factually incorrect assumptions. And it is comprable to the Disneyland exist on the I-5, because it address precisely the same public interests - reduced traffic congestion in the surrounding area.

  • TFA Misleadery (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quothz (683368) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @07:37PM (#27204223) Journal
    While Obama's stimulus program is, it seems, gonna help fund this overpass (which is fine with me), note that this project was agreed on almost two years ago. Originally, MS was gonna eat 70% of the cost.

    However, a revised estimate of the cost was somewhat higher than expected. The City of Redmond (not MS) decided to ask for stimulus money to offset this. After some initial talks, Redmond chose not to ask Microsoft for additional funding until they had pursued federal funds, which were assigned. (Redmond did not make up the difference itself because it cannot afford it.)

    This is not a case of MS pushing Congress into funding their campus development. This is a case of Redmond deciding the project costs were a good investment for the city, and asking for stimulus money to make up a shortfall.

    Note also that MS is expanding its campus in a huge project. The overpass is a small, small portion of what the company will ultimately spend. This is good for Redmond's economy, and the city wants to encourage the expansion.

  • Re:so? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @07:47PM (#27204317) Journal

    I'd feel more inclined to support this project *if the money came out of Washingtonians pockets* not my pocket. I don't think people in Seattle would be happy to build an 11-million-dollar interstatw though my local Pennsylvania town, just so I could take a 5-minute shortcut to Walmart. The people who benefit are the ones who should pay, not foreigners from another state.

    That's like that stupid New York sales tax. If they think I'm going to file tax returns on my online sales, the NY government can sit on my middle digit, and spin until they squeal like pigs. I will Not pay money to a foreign entity.

    Also:

    If corporations like Microsoft paid taxes I'd be more inclined to support this bridge - but corporations often pay zero or near-zero. I am sick-and-tired of my corporations paying *nothing* but getting everything. Like the million-dollar bonuses handed-out to AIG(?) execs yesterday - money that came from our wallets via the TARB bailout bill. Why the hell am I paying AIG's bonuses???

    Grrr.

  • Re:so? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @09:07PM (#27205025) Homepage Journal

    Agreed. What if the city of Warren, Michigan, built a special exit on I-696 that took you directly into General Motors' Warren Technical Center and then paid for it with federal highway dollars?

    You guys would all be calling for blood.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 15, 2009 @09:35PM (#27205283)

    You're right, and perhaps Microsoft would oblige. As, again, the article states, Redmond didn't bother asking Microsoft for more money. Perhaps the publicity will cause Microsoft to volunteer over more money.

    Of course, people are only bitching about this project because Microsoft's name is in there somewhere. The Stimulus package was designed specifically to funnel money into projects just like this that are planned and ready to be executed in order to spur immediate public works projects. There are countless thousands of these projects all over the country in every single state.

  • Re:Bonuses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BranMan (29917) on Monday March 16, 2009 @10:40AM (#27210015)
    A lot of the time, 'bonuses' are simply a way for a company to take part of what they pay people (and, of course, only those who make 6 figures can afford to accept this) and delay paying it for 6-12 months at a time.

    Some of it may be performance based - meaning they can tweak *part* of that bonus based on performance - but the bulk is really just what their salary should be.

    All so the company can squeeze 6 months of interest out of part of what they pay some people. Seems more trouble than it's worth, but it's more common than you would think. There may be other benefits to the company too - reducing unemployment insurance and medicare deductions, etc. Not certain about that. And they can get more 'creative' with salary adjustments.

Money will say more in one moment than the most eloquent lover can in years.

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