Dec 30, 2008
Localities race to get ready to build stuff
30 Dec 2008
Posted by Andrew Kantor
I really like the whole "unintended consequences" thing — you know, improve car security and you end up with the then-new crime of carjacking. The latest, from Stateline.org:
The nation’s cities and counties are asking Obama transition officials to give them most of the infrastructure money from the multibillion-dollar economic stimulus package, setting off a dispute with the states over who can launch transportation projects the fastest.
So you’ve got state governments each trying to convince President* Obama that their earthmovers are warmed up and ready to build stuff faster than the next state. Then you’ve got cities and counties, which have had their budgets cut by their states, saying they should get the money to build rather than the states.
(Next, I assume, Smith County Roadbuilder Crew 12 will say it should get the money directly, rather than having it go through the county government.)
If it looks like a feeding frenzy, smells like a feeding frenzy, and tastes like a feeding frenzy…
On top of all this, of course, you have taxpayers who want new roads, safer bridges, and water mains that don’t burst — but don’t want their taxes raised to pay for these things. While where I live in Henrico County, I watched them water the medians of the roads the day after a rainstorm, only to go home to find a plea from the local volunteer rescue squad for donations.
* Let’s be real here: If you watch the news, it’s getting clear that the inauguration is almost an afterthought.