Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Liberal Lighthouse: Pork, and I mean PORK! - We all know that George W. Bush is about as fiscally conservative as Michael Moore is socially conservative. But this example of Pork Legislation [From The New Republic] the size of Mount Rushmore just takes the cake for Republican pretenses to thriftiness:

Don Young's Way conjures images of a quaint little street akin to a "lane" or a "drive," a modest tribute to a beloved public servant. But the planned bridge connecting Anchorage, Alaska, with the sparsely populated section of land across the Knik Arm Channel will be anything but modest. Named in honor of the House Transportation Committee chairman who helped push the project through Congress as part of last week's transportation bill, the two-mile span will rival the Golden Gate Bridge in length, and the $229 million in federal funding approved for it is expected to be just the tip of the iceberg. The bill, in which Alaska received almost $1 billion in pork-barrel projects, also included $220 million for another huge bridge connecting the city of Ketchikan (population 8,000) with nearby Gravina Island (population 50).

Left out of the $286 billion transportation bill, however, was $400 million in funding for another namesake bridge, of sorts, in Washington, D.C. In 2001, the Kennedy Center announced plans for a massive plaza to be built over the Potomac Freeway, which would link the isolated performing arts center with the National Mall. Congress had supported the idea but failed to provide the funding on which the project hinged. According to The Washington Post, Kennedy Center Trustee James V. Kimsey "said he understood that Congress had to make tough choices with the war in Iraq and the president's demand for a tight budget." If he believes that, we know of a bridge in Brooklyn that's for sale. Or, better yet, a couple in Alaska.
NOTE: For the Ketchikan/Gravina Island bridge, that's a per capita expenditure of $27,329. Just let that sink in for a while and try not to get too angry when that homeless person on the street corner asks you for a dollar so that he can eat.

1 comment:

The other Huck said...

It certainly does seem excessive when you look at it on a per capita basis. I really think that the Federal government should back up on many of the projects it funds and consider providing funding to the states where they can prioritize their capital expenditure projects. I'd venture a guess that if put to a vote Alaskan's would spend that money elsewhere. Less federal government involvement leaves less $ for Pork Barrel spending.