Friday, March 11, 2005

Road Hogs

Spend $284 billion in Washington and you can almost taste the pork in there somewhere. Groups like Taxpayers for Common Sense track pet projects and pork barrel spending.

Some of the items Taxpayers for Common Sense identified as pork in the $284 billion highway bill:

  • $3 million for improvements to a museum in Warren, Ohio, dedicated to the Packard automobile
  • $7 million for snowmobile trails in Vermont
  • $35 million for landscaping around freeways in Houston
  • $3.2 million to build an interpretative center and improve trails in the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Corridor
  • $500,000 to improve streets, sidewalks and curbs outside the Museum of Modern Art in New York

Keith Ashdown, VP for Policy at TCS says, "Instead of tightening their fiscal belt, Congress had instead decided to fund horse trails, museums, interpretive centers and water taxis."

Cosmetic Costs

Mr Ashdown's group also point to $2.5 million for landscaping along the Ronald Reagan Freeway in Simi Valley, California. California State Rep Elton Gallegly (R) sought the funding. A spokesman for him called that stretch of freeway "the first impression" that many visitors have of the area.

Well, now they've got a new one -- a $2.5 million one.

Making the List

In all, Taxpayers for Common Sense came up with 4,128 earmarks like these. They've listed everyone of them on their website. They even break it down state-by-state. It shows how Alaska -- one of the least populated states in the union -- got more money than places with much more traffic, like Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Of course, Alaska's sole Representative in the House just happens to chair the committee where all the goodies get added -- Rep Don Young (R-AK).

And how do we taxpayers get to pay for all these ideas? We already pay a federal fuel tax on gasoline and diesel. Tucked away in this highway bill is another way to bill the taxpayer -- by allowing states to start charging tolls on the interstates. Lucky us. (NYT)

[Crossposted at]

No comments: