$11 million in taxpayer money for Microsoft’s new bridge?

Many Americans have lost their jobs, including many within the IT community.   In a time when America is struggling financially, when many companies have found themselves in difficulty and government intervention is on the rise – trust is key.   Americans are struggling with trusting both their government and the big corporations.  The management and actions of both often of questionable judgment.

So when Americans see  a company with as deep pockets as  Microsoft

Microsoft is building a bridge across the interstate in order to connect their two campuses.  In fact, from looking at the picture in the article at CNN, it’s quite a nice bridge.  But when nearly half the funds are coming from taxpayers at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.  Americans are left with a lot of questions.

1) Why are we paying for a bridge to Microsoft.

2) If the funds are not there, why are they designing a designer bridge? Would not a simple ordinary bridge be suitable?

3) Isn’t this the time for those corporations with deep pockets to be contributing to the community, not taking away. 

The claim is  that there will be additional traffic from people other than Microsoft employees.  According to a study which purports that only 40% of the traffic will be Microsoft employees.  Such studies often have questionable track records. Who funded the study? Were there counter-studies done? 

With Microsoft struggling with a bad image since Vista. And hoping for a significant turn-a-round come Windows 7.  It seems to me this bridge has the potential to turn into really bad publicity. Americans are getting a bit tired of our tax money being handed out like political candy, especially in a time when so many of us are struggling, facing unemployment or worse.  Bailing out a company with billions in the bank just seems wrong. 

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/31/bridge.microsoft/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

UPDATED: Microsoft’s response here…

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3 Responses to “$11 million in taxpayer money for Microsoft’s new bridge?”


  1. 1 brainwreckedtech April 7, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    This has already been covered extensively by Slashdot.

    – The project creates jobs
    – It will alleviate current traffic congestion
    – Despite Microsoft footing half the bill, the road remains public

    I can only imagine the conversation at Microsoft

    – The state wants alleviate traffic congestion around our campuses
    – What’s the best way to do it?
    – We could build a bridge between the two campuses.
    – Isn’t there another way? People will accuse us of taking taxpayer money to enrich ourselves.
    – Others but not better.
    – Foot 50% of the bill to alleviate concerns, but I know we’re going to get slammed on this.

    I guess “Microsoft Contributes To Public Infrastructure” isn’t as eye-catching “Public Tax Money Paying for Microsoft Bridge.” I really do enjoy a good Microsoft bashing, but you can’t blindly bash everything Microsoft does.

  2. 2 thesaj April 8, 2009 at 9:03 am

    @branwreckedtech

    Just some counter points:

    – The project creates jobs

    1. The $11 million spent elsewhere could likewise create jobs.
    2. If Microsoft paid for the bridge in full, and the $11 million was spent elsewhere. We’d have even MORE jobs.

    – It will alleviate current traffic congestion
    1. Traffic cause by Microsoft’s expansion, correct?

    – Despite Microsoft footing half the bill, the road remains public

    1. Many structures that are public were funded by corporate money.

    2. I have a bit of bias on these sort of projects because where I used to live we had a number of developments that invaded our neighborhood. The agreements were that certain areas would be public access as they were basically taking public land and beach access. To this date the public still has little access to the areas. But they just built a new expansion claiming the right to do so per the agreement. Now this may not happen with the Microsoft bridge. But I am often leery of such claims.

    – The state wants alleviate traffic congestion around our campuses
    1. Frankly, the bridge should have been mandated in the approval for Microsoft to expand the new campus.

    – What’s the best way to do it?
    – We could build a bridge between the two campuses.
    1. Not saying building the bridge is not the best way to do it. But when Microsoft’s expansion causes the congestion. I don’t think the taxpayer should have to cover the cost.

    – Isn’t there another way? People will accuse us of taking taxpayer money to enrich ourselves.
    – Foot 50% of the bill to alleviate concerns, but I know we’re going to get slammed on this.
    1. Yes, since we’re the primary cause of the congestion. And the fact that most of the traffic will either be Microsoft employees and or likely the numerous companies surrounding our headquarters that we work with. And since we’re in a good financial position. We should opt to pay for the bridge and donate it to the city. GOod publicity as well.

    2. How about we build a simple bridge that is not some uber-fancy designer bridge. I mean can we justify making the average tax payer pay for a designer bridge during an economic depression when we have billions in the bank.

    ***

    Look I am not blindly bashing Microsoft. But I do object to such poor oversight. When Bayer built their huge campus in Connecticut it required restructuring of a highway exit/entrance system. A bridge. Etc. Now that whole design & layout for traffic flow catered to Bayer at the disadvantage of the average driver. Which was annoying. But at least Bayer paid to have that done.

    Sorry, I think this is poor judgment and poor use of taxpayer funds.

    At the very least it could be an ordinary straight bridge.

  3. 3 jimrobson April 9, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I notice that the video on the MS blog post is in Flash. So, at least they are doing *something* right! 🙂


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