Friday, February 15, 2008

The bridge is the enemy of the pork 

While the debating on how to fund transportation continues unabated (and apparently unsuccessfully, as it appears the bill is going forward with little change -- though the indexing of the gas tax might be pulled?), it's worth noting what the Legislature wants to fund instead. From the Anoka County Watchdog (thanks to Drew Emmer for posting), vote for that transportation bill and you will still get all that bonding money, now diverted to such wonderful items as
So it's worth understanding this -- these pieces of pork, these dollops of cream for legislators looking for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to occur, oh say, around October, are part of the inducement to pass an $8.4 billion transportation bill. To achieve these ends the DFL leadership seems prepared to go to any length, even to crippling the reconstruction of the I-35W bridge.

Make no mistake -- it is not only DFLers asking for these bits of largesse. Indeed, the bills introduced by Republicans are little more than offers to sell out some bit of the resolve the House GOP had last session in return for a photo op. As a companion to the earmark reform cry that may be a centerpiece of the McCain national campaign, I hope the Minnesota GOP leadership will ask each member of its caucus to withdraw these requests and refuse to put any more in this session. And refuse to vote on ANY bill on the floor until the Transportation Contingency Advisory Committee releases the money for completion of the I-35W bridge reconstruction. Like the U.S. House Republicans over FISA, just walk away from the floor until the money is passed over to MnDOT.

No pork: Bond for bridges.

A house that lasts 50 years is paid for over 30 years. A bridge that lasts 50 years doesn't have to be paid for in two. Let those who will benefit in the future share in the cost.

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