My alarm is set for 4:45 a.m., because tomorrow I’m hanging out with Ray.
Ray Burton has been has been the executive councilor from the North Country since the year I was born. He was actually there even earlier, but he took a break for a bit and only came back 30 years ago.
He and I got into a discussion about the Conway bypass a month ago after I called him with a few questions. I asked him if $400 million couldn’t be better spent in the North Country than to speed up traffic by 20 minutes.
“What would you do with it?” he asked me.
“I don’t know,” I said, a bit surprised to be asked, “build the second wing on the state prison and fully staff it? I bet good paying jobs in Berlin would have more impact than a bit of road construction.”
The truth is, there isn’t $400 million for the bypass. There isn’t even $64 million for part of it. There is no big pot of money that can be spend on roads or on prisons, and the project is likely going to be pushed off even longer because of state funding problems. But that’s a different story for a different time. My discussion with Ray took a side turn there, and it ended with Ray inviting me to be his guest at the executive council breakfast and meeting.
“I’ll be there,” I said.