Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A rear-entry governmental insertion


I'm no expert on putting together a piece of legislation, especially one as huge and costly as the recently passed economic stimulus measure, but I'm sure you or I would have no problem picking out ridiculously wasteful spending in the bill. In fact, if you picked up today's Observer-Reporter or read it online, you saw a prime example of that. The city of Washington hopes to obtain $866,000 in stimulus money to turn the East Chestnut Street parking garage into an "intermodal transit facility." If you read on, you'll see that the project, which has a total price tag of $2 million, would involve renovation of the garage and "designation of park-and-ride spaces for commuters within the city, those catching the GG&C bus to Pittsburgh and clients of the Washington County Transportation Authority paratransit system." So, essentially, the city wants to spend $2 million, including nearly $900,000 in stimulus money, to create a glorified bus stop and parking lot. Wow, what a wise investment of public funds. Does anyone remember the white elephant parking garage behind the Shop 'n Save? How about the multimillion-dollar downtown revitalization project? Does the downtown seem revitalized to you? When you drive through Washington, do you see other, more pressing needs that might take precedence over a bus stop? Maybe other projects in Washington would not qualify for stimulus money. That's fine. It would be better to give the money to a project elsewhere that might do some real good. Oh, I forgot, the "intermodal transit facility" might also include an "information kiosk." Perhaps they'll dispense some valuable information, such as how to get out of Washington and instructions for the last person leaving to turn out the lights (especially those really pretty ones along our revitalized Main Street).

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should anybody surprised? The stimulus money has only one string attached -- spend it! There is nothing to be said for competitive bidding, nothing to be said for efficiency, nothing to be said for using the money effectively. The only stipulation is SPEND IT, even if it is spent on make-work projects.

This is what the libs wanted. Put money in the public domain, without any control, or without any regard for effectiveness. This project only serves to highlight the pattern that will quickly emerge -- " we don't care how it is spent, just spend it so we can say that we have done something to help the economy."

I wonder if those who complained about the no-bid contracts in Iraq will be front and center with the same complaints for the stimulus money.

March 3, 2009 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Pretty much the only thing we can guarantee is that this stimulus money will be misspent in the same way as the Iraq reconstruction money. It doesn't matter which political party is directing a massive spending program. Graft, corruption, shortsightedness, palm-greasing and blatant mismanagement are assured. We definitely need to spend some money, a lot of money, to improve the infrastructure across the country, but some of this spending is just ridiculous.

March 4, 2009 at 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one should be the slightest bit surprised by this perfect example. And remember, this is only one example of a gigantic waste of money in one small community. Multiply this by thousands and thousands of other communites across the county, all of whom are convinced their need is greater than all others, and we should begin to realize what a disaster this "stimulus" plan is.

March 4, 2009 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

What is the justification for improving the parking garage? It seems pretty apparent that we have a surplus of parking garages in the city... and the park-and-ride off of Beau St. seems pretty full most of the time... oh, but that's in south strabane, isn't it?

If you guys/gals (Brant's audience, basically) could have a pet project for Washington paid for by stimulus cash, what would it be?

Mine would be a fulfillment of the promise to "Revitalize" downtown. It would consist of a few cogs... First, review last years' receipts of the parking meters, match that total with a direct payment to the city, and eliminate the meters. Next, set up a business development fund to provide start-up money to businesses that open in the "town" section of Washington. This could be in the form of low-interest loans, grants, or tax exemptions for the first year of operation. Finally, money would be made available for additional police officers and building/road improvement.

This way, you get rid of everyone's favorite excuse for lack of foot traffic in town... you encourage businesses to locate so that the throngs of free-parkers have places to go... and then you protect the shoppers from being murdered or busting their front-end alignments.

March 4, 2009 at 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ellipses for once I agree with you. But you have to understand that helping any small business will not do for the politicians. There must be a Jack Piatt hand out involved when he promises them the world without delivering anything. In the process the existing businesses can be threatened with having their property taken for Piatt to use taxpayer money to develop new ones.
This does not count getting your spouse a job with Piatt developing the properties as a sweetener. The key for these people is always who gets greased.

March 5, 2009 at 1:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where the bailout for the O-R?

March 5, 2009 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

There's a first time for everything, Anon...

Agreeing with me is like smoking crack... sometimes, one time enough to have you hooked for life!

March 5, 2009 at 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that is funny.. I might not agree with your politics, but you can be funny.
WR lover

March 5, 2009 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Anon... I would LOVE to be a WR reader and fan...

But that website needs some help... This is in no way a dig at the alternative paper in Wash-pa... I'm a content guy. The more content I can get ahold of, the better.

There is always room for Jell-o... and there is always room for another newspaper (yes, even now)...

March 6, 2009 at 8:58 AM  

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