Monday, September 19, 2005

Roll out the pork barrel project

Glenn Reynolds had a brilliantly non-partisan idea yesterday for a blog swarm on the transportation bill. By this morning, Truth Laid Bear had set up a page to track it. The deal is for local bloggers to identify pork in their own districts, blog it and contact their Beltway legislators with a challenge to divert the funding to the Gulf States recovery efforts.

I'm newly arrived in North Carolina so I'm not terribly informed on local politics but unnecessary funding is kind of the same all over. My own district does not seem to be the only offender here, and the eastern half of the state overall could bear some scrutiny. First and foremost, there's this $6,336,000 Downtown Redevelopment Project in Rocky Mount. I'm all for restoring vitality to downtowns, but I have to ask, why is this city of about 56,000 residents receiving this money from a federal transportation bill?

The same question could asked for this project, $1,500,000 Development of 2 miles of road parallel to I- 95 located approximately between the I-95/ NC- 125 interchange and I- 95AJS- 158 interchange NC. The reasoning is that the road needs to be improved in order to attract industry for one community. How does that benefit the interstate highway system?

Finally there's a remarkable number of bike trail projects. Now I'm all for bike trails and from what I've observed, the residents of this state could use more exercise, but let's be practical. This is not Holland. Few people commute by bike. These trails are largely for leisure class entertainment and in these fiscally troubled times, all these projects could go.

* Completion of the American Tobacco Trail in Durham and Chatham Counties: $1.6 million

* Acquisition of rail corridors for bicycle and pedestrian trials (Durham): $3.6 million

* Pedestrian bike paths development (Cary): $1.6 million

* Endor Iron Furnace Greenway enhancements from Deep River to Sanford: $800,000

* Neuse River Trail construction (Johnston County): $1.6 million

* Greenways expansion and improvement project (Greenville): $1.6 million

* Rails to Trails Project (Elizabeth City): $512,000

In the greater scheme that's not a lot of money but hey, every $20 million could help.

Sources: Statement of Congressman Butterfield.
Cary politics forum.
Taxpayers for Common Sense.
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Blogger Blue Moon Mama said...

Intriguing idea.

I enjoyed reading your blog -- it's tough to blog about politics in a way that stands out in the crowded blogosphere. Your writing is concise and targeted, and your topics well-chosen.


12:24:00 PM  
Blogger jackl2400 said...

I hate pork as much as the next guy, and I do see some class issues here, but I'd hate like hell to see the few progressive things like bike paths/greenbelts take the hit in a budget cut.

I'm sure there's a lot of other less meritorious pork out there: bridges to nowhere in Alaska, Halliburton, ethanol etc.

9:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

I hate to see greenways go as well Jack but as a practical matter, they won't be cutting Halliburton's allowance, they want to cut social service programs. The greenways can wait another year, the uninsured who will lose their Medicaid for instance, need the money more.

I was also only looking at the transportation bill. I'm certain if I could have found a Halliburton contract online, I most surely would have identified more fitting targets.

10:02:00 PM  
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