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Monday, July 24, 2006

More MnDOT follies

Once again, road projects are being delayed because MnDOT doesn't have any money. This time, it's the expansion of U.S. 53 in northern Minnesota, which is getting $50 million in federal money due to an earmark from Jim Oberstar. That money can't be used, however, until the state comes up with its share, and given how underfunded MnDOT is, that's not going to happen until 2012 at the earliest.

First of all, congressional earmarks, otherwise known as pork, are evil and should be done away with. This is no different than the "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska. Yes, I know that highway 53 needs to be expanded for safety reasons, but lots of highways in Minnesota need to be expanded for those same reasons, and MnDOT is in a far better position to decide what is a priority and what isn't. Pork projects may get votes, but they are not good government.

That said, once again we see clear evidence that MnDOT needs more money. Not credit card spending, not cutting of maintenance to build roads, but more money. Period. The legislature last year passed a bill to increase the gas tax for the first time in almost twenty years, and Governor Pawlenty vetoed it, as we are all well aware. Thank you, governor, for delaying yet another project.


At 10:13 AM, July 25, 2006, Anonymous AHW said...

Pork evil? Illegal wars, handouts to pharmacutical giants, and about a thousand other government activities are my cheif concerns. I would hardly lash out against members of congress bringing infastructure to their districts with federal money. In an ideal system, yes, the state would pay for its projects and the dept of transportation would prioritize federal spending without political interference. But hey, the House is (or is supposed to be) a highly representative body and pork is the result. Not the most efficent way to govern, but hardly evil.


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