to Nicholas Johnson's Coralville Rain Forest Web Site
Send Rain Forest Funds to Gulf
Iowa City Press-Citizen
September 2, 2005
[Note: This material is copyright by the Press-Citizen, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Iowa City Press-Citizen.]
Rain forest not true public works
I have been following the debate over the construction of the rain forest since its inception. After all the public discussion, and every twist and turn of the process, my initial skepticism about the project has steadily increased.
The disaster in New Orleans dramatically illustrates the difference between critical public infrastructure and fluff. In a country with a ballooning debt and deficit, with deferred maintenance putting critical infrastructure at risk, with schools falling behind in the global competition to produce the best scientists and engineers, we cannot afford yet another multi-million-dollar boondoggle.
Hurricane Katrina is sending us a message: a nation cannot thrive on wishful thinking. Whether it is holding back the ocean, spending imaginary money or indulging our wildest dreams, history is rife with those dreams quickly turning into nightmares.
There must be a more rational and affordable use for this "gateway" location. Let's not waste it on a project that is already an embarrassment.