News From Terre Haute, Indiana


July 26, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: July 26, 2012


Pondering this hybrid bus fiasco

OK. I’ll stipulate to being cranially challenged. Nolo contendere. So maybe somebody can help me out here.

In the spirit of Stimulus (“create or save American jobs”), da Poohbahs of Da Hote spent the equivalent of $408K in borrowed Chinese yuan in 2010 to buy two experimental, prototype, hybrid buses from a Canadian company that had been in business for only two years?

Canadian company? American jobs? Stimulus? Whose?

The Canadian buses have given nothing but trouble over the past two years? Three weeks of uninterrupted service from either has been cause for celebration? Both recently completely rebuilt? Company now belly-up? All future repairs at Da Hote’s expense? Can any of that loss be recovered from the pockets of the decision makers in Poohbahland?

Now the city has approved the purchase of yet another hybrid bus for $587K — this time from a 122-year-old American company:

Assuming that someone in Poobahland actually comparison-shopped in 2010, did someone not suspect, under the “you get what you pay for” principle, that a nearly three-to-one price ratio might suggest a substantial difference in quality, performance and reliability — of both company and product?

But who cares? After all, it’s only taxpayer money … er, government funds … er, Chinese yuan.

Final question, please: Whose head(s) will roll because of this fiasco?

— Ron Marsh

Terre Haute

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