Where are we today?
[From now on, I plan to include an image like this in every update to help you find your bearings in Senatoria.]
The North East Infrastructure Plan, Or: Vote buying for dummies
It was a pleasant commute into work this morning, but the pleasure quickly ended upon arrival.
I should show you our work building. It's somewhat older than the building we're going to move to, and it's located right in Senatoria's Capital District:
Current Senatoria Planning Commission building.
It really is a fantastic building, but it's much too small for our current needs. Many of the employees (and I'm one of them) will be sad to leave it behind, but it can't be helped. We just don't have enough space.
Meanwhile, back in office land, the whole office had descended into an argument over Seha's politics. I regret to inform that about 2/3rds of the office sides with Seha. I elected to stay out of most of the fight, but alas my friend Shaun managed to drag me into the bunfight as always...
"What's your view, mate?"
"Uhh... Well, personally, I side against the President. The whole point of Senatoria's legal system is that the President does essentially two things: acts as a veto authority, and assists those departments requiring a more long term approach to their activities." I stammered, trying to avoid getting further involved.
"Really? You dare stand against the president?" Too late.
"Dare? What, is this a dictatorship or something? Of course I dare. This is a democratic republic!"
"We're not arguing what sort of country this is. We're arguing..." I wasn't going to let Shaun dodge the point.
"Keeping in mind the kind of political system we have here is PRECISELY the kind of thing we should consider when proposals like this, quite frankly, dredge water from Seha are concerned."
The look on everybody's face as I delivered this line was quite unimaginable. It was as if the whole world had been smashed and only this room remained... There was utter silence. My reason for defending my position so fiercely is that it is a somewhat unique aspect of Senatoria's system of government that the President holds his position for 12 years, or 3 election cycles (whichever comes first), although the President is an elected position.
"You don't like Seha's work at all, do you?" This time the question came from Shaun's other friend, Marcus, who was always slinging accusations around.
"Not particularly," I replied, and thankfully at this point I was finally able to excuse myself from the conversation as I was called into another office.
Good old Shaun. Always good to drag you into arguments you don't want to be involved in. Still, he's helped me out quite a few times, and aside from this aspect, he's quite reliable.
It didn't get much better from then on unfortunately. It was the meeting I had been dreading all morning that I'd been called for, and as you'd guess, Murphy's law still rang true. As a result, almost nobody recieved any new work.
Except, of course, me. At least I had a chance to escape my colleagues clashes over Seha's politics. If they asked, I had work to do.
After such a heated morning, I thought it might be a good idea to take a walk to clear my head. Hopefully I'd be able to get the release for the NEIP finished. after lunch.
Office politics... Ugh.
As you can see, the district wasn't *ahem* exactly planned. Senatoria wasn't meant to be the national capital, and although the district has its own charm, and certainly has its architectural triumphs, the capital area is now virtually surrounded by skyscrapers.
Federal Plaza is quite a popular hangout for government workers, including myself. The backdrop of the Parliament on one side and the courthouse on the other makes it a great place to sit and ponder about the world and the way this country is heading, and it's where I usually spend my lunch breaks. A surprising amount of information gets transferred between departments here, and today was no different. I learned in today's lunch chat that Seha is toying with a western rail freight bypass as well as the one in the north east proposed under the NEIP. Again, I applaud it, but can we afford to spend money like this? Really?
The shops in the building to the left of the courthouse in the shot are quite popular. They're the only real convenient shops to the capital area, and so they get a LOT of business.
Most capitals preserve a vista to their capital building, but since it wasn't known whether a new building was to be constructed, or whether city hall (which at the time was just new, on City Island). In the end, a new building was built, and you can see the result. The Parliament building is something the country is proud of. Although the surrounding district is somewhat eclectic, the building shines in reality:
For all its graundeur, the actual sitting chambers are underground. This was done to allow the two central courtyards, which aren't much but give the building's employees somewhere to have a coffee. Or a smoke.
Ironically, City Hall is far more visible on the skyline. I'll show you city hall another day.
But back to work.
We've been working on the plans for the NEIP at the Commission for a while, and it's my task to get this proposal release finalised. The artwork isn't fancy - the initial proposal never is.
Essentially the plans are to provide a dedicated route to the east for freight. There's also an extension of the St Mary's Bypass proposed as part of the project, which is intended to better link Loudon into the M57 (the city's outer orbital motorway)... Oh bugger it, it may be easier just to show you the release.
North East Infrastructure Program (Initial Proposal)
Senatorian Law requires the display of proposed projects for public comment before their approval and commencement. In respect to this notice, the following investment program is to be displayed for public comment:
The Proposal, in summary, is that a series of new rail tracks are to be constructed in order to better facilitate the movement of freight, and to increase the degree to which freight rail traffic in Senatoria is segregated from passenger services. In addition to this, a new motorway link is proposed from the end of the existing St Mary's Bypass to Senatoria's outer orbital motorway. Some surface roads are to be rebuilt and realigned around the new link, and some property acquisitions may be required.
To see if you are affected, visit Senatoria Planning's website, click 'Major Projects', and select the North East Infrastructure Program. Public submissions will be accepted for the gazetting period specified in the Major Projects Act.
It's no small project, and similar plans have been in the process for some time within the SPC. I have serious misgivings about Seha's motives for this project however. I suspect it is simply vote buying on his part. It is rumoured that this is a payoff to some of the industry barons in exchange for votes for his bid for power.
That he's considering another bypass (no doubt to allow greater passenger rail frequencies on the network) only cements my concerns.
OUT OF CHARACTER: Folks, feel free to make suggestions on this idea for this infrastructure project, especially if you have suggestions on how to improve it.
*For those not aware, sextuplication here simply means that the rail corridor would be widened to six tracks in total (currently there are four along that stretch). it is a correct term, and one I've actually seen used. (I follow Sydney's planning processes rather closely).
NEXT TIME: The parks, greenery, and motorway system through Downtown.