How is Prioritizing Spending on Bridges Offensive?

Member Group : Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania

October 3, 2013:

One of the top priorities for the Governor and the Senate has been the passage of a transportation bill. Before they went on summer vacation, the Senate passed a massive $2.5 billion transportation spending package. Unfortunately for taxpayers, the money came from hiking Pennsylvania’s gas tax to the highest in the country and raising a host of other fees. On the bright side, this legislation came to a screeching halt in the House.

As we have noted previously, there are a number of reforms that should be undertaken before taxpayers are asked to pay one more dime in taxes. One change in particular that merits careful consideration, and frankly should be a no brainer, would be to prioritize funding and tackle fixing bridges and roads instead of undertaking "beautification" projects or spending transportation funds on "rails-to-trails" projects. To that end, Rep. Steve Bloom introduced legislation:

"Under the Bridge Safety Emergency First Initiative, the replacement and/or restoration of newly and previously closed or posted bridges will automatically become the top priority among PennDOT construction projects. Until such time as all closed and posted bridges are returned to full operational service without restriction, no PennDOT funds shall be expended on projects not directly related to bridge safety."

That sounds reasonable, right?

According a Patriot News article, not only did PA Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch think that idea unreasonable, he reportedly found it "offensive and insulting". In the real world people have to prioritize spending all the time. If a person only had enough money to repaint their house or repair their leaking roof (but not both), a reasonable person would fix their roof. Too many government officials, like Sec. Schoch, believe that government should not have to abide by the same principles as the rest of us, and that is why taxes only go in one direction: up.

Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania (CAP) is a non-profit organization founded to raise the standard of living of all Pennsylvanians by restoring limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility. By empowering the Commonwealth’s employers and taxpayers to break state government’s "Iron Triangle" of career politicians, bureaucrats, and Big Government lobbyists, this restoration will occur and Pennsylvania will prosper.