Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pay for NOLA by cutting pork spending

We need to rebuild the coastal area devastated by hurricane Katina - Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. But ee can't just "find" $200,000,000 to do it. Congress is irresponsible if it just throws the ball down the field by spending money out of thin air. Where are those dollars coming from? The Highway Bill passed by Congress this summer is filled with "highways to no where" - special little projects for one congressman to buy votes from his district. For one of the worst offenders and his "important" projects see Scott Glabe at Weekly Standard - "Old Don Young Had a Farm"
"DON YOUNG'S WAY" is a $231 million bridge to be built in Anchorage. Don Young's "way" is to use his position as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to bring home as many federal dollars as possible for his home state. For instance, the highway bill passed at the end of July netted over $1 billion in special projects for Alaska. That's $1,448 in pork for every man, woman, and child in Alaska. Young's eponymous bridge isn't even the most egregious bit of largesse. That honor goes to another bridge, which, for $223 million will connect Ketchikan, population 8,000, with Gravina Island, population 50. The Gravina Island Bridge, which is slated to be taller than the Brooklyn Bridge, will be a towering monument to unnecessity; the small island is already served by ferries, one of which departs every half hour. Young claims the bridge will facilitate Ketchikan's growth by providing ground access to the airport on Gravina Island, a rationale that is sure to be mentioned in a "documentary about infrastructure that demonstrates advancements in Alaska, the last frontier," to which the highway bill allots another $3 million. Perhaps the documentary will also explain how an airport with fewer than 10 flights a day can facilitate such growth, or why the government simply doesn't purchase a Lear Jet for every inhabitant of Gravina Island--which, as Citizens Against Government Waste has noted, would be cheaper than the bridge.
OK. Let's do something about this. N.Z. Bear is running a pork-identification project--with a powerful assist from Glenn Reynolds--in which bloggers point out federal spending that could be cut to balance out the costs of Katrina reconstruction. It's a great idea, and it has a nice logo: We can help. Find a wasteful project in your state or - best - congressional district. Then go to Porkbusters and enter it.

No comments: