With the recent bridge collapse in Minnesota there has been much discussion on how our bridges, utilities, and infrastructure has gotten into such sad shape. After the Katrina disaster many blamed the government and specifically the President for the failure of the levee’s when in fact it was the local state government that had diverted funds allocated to the levee’s.
It did not take long for the recent bridge collapse in Minnesota being blamed on the President at every opportunity. Thomas Sowell had a interesting article on this subject this week and brings up some very good points…
"The real problem is that the political incentives are to spend the taxpayers' money on things that will enhance politicians' chances of getting re-elected.
There may be enough money available to maintain bridges and other infrastructure but that same money can have a bigger political pay-off if spent building something new instead of maintaining and repairing existing structures."
And at last count how many schools, park benches, and rest stops in West Virginia have Senator Robert Byrd’s (D) name on them? Investors Business Daily had a great article on this same subject this week:
Taxation: "Always ready to use a tragedy to raise taxes, the Democrats want to hike the gas tax in the aftermath of the Minneapolis bridge collapse. The country should be pleased that President Bush rejects the idea. The federal government's most recent highway bill, for instance, authorizes $286 billion in spending.
But don't be fooled. Not all of that money ends up improving our roads. Transportation bills, now legendary for their pork, tend to be larded with expenditures for such nontransportation items as snowmobile safety programs, endangered species habitat protection, heritage centers, music centers, museums, pedestrian walkways and miles of pavement that isn't needed yet serves a politician's lust for votes."
So if a bridge falls in a major city and there is a Democrat in the White House will anybody hear it?
The fact is the local and State politicians have made it an art to spend our tax money on projects that get them re-elected instead of spending that money on more urgent and appropriate projects. A multimillion dollar structure to protect our Virginia politicians from getting rained on while in Richmond comes to mind… Millions of dollars to be invested in a Theater in downtown Waynesboro in a project that will never be able to support itself just as it is reported that another $115,000 in taxpayer money will be going to the Shakespeare project in Staunton.
I understand that numerous people have been pushing for bike paths in our area and require them to be added to roadways and proposed bridges. This was a Hot-topic when I lived in the Florida Keys and after many public meetings the local politicians developed and passed a plan to construct and maintain a bike path from Key Largo all of the 106 miles down to Key West…
"Saturday’s event marked the completion of the Grassy Key Bikeway, spanning mile markers 54.5 to 58.5 bayside. The eight-foot wide Grassy Key Bikeway, completed at a cost of $519,000, is among the initial phases of the multi-million dollar project, made possible by federal transportation funds."
There are 42 bridges along Route 1 from Key Largo to Key West and they are a combined total of 18.89 miles long.