Resuming the controversial practice of using toll revenue for economic development, a Delaware River Port Authority committee today approved use of $11 million for non-transportation projects in Philadelphia and Camden.
Approved was $3.5 million for the President’s House memorial at Sixth and Market streets and $2.5 million for a restaurant on Franklin Square and for the Lights of Liberty show, all in Philadelphia. In Camden, the authority OKed $1.5 million for a proposed medical school, $1.5 million for infrastructure improvements along Admiral Wilson Boulevard, and $2 million for demolition of an office building and associated improvements.
Gov. Rendell had announced a day earlier that he would seek money from the DRPA, which he chairs, to complete construction funding for the President’s House memorial
The spending, which requires approval by the DRPA board next month, would use money remaining from economic development funds borrowed in 1999.
When it increased tolls on its four Delaware River bridges last summer, the DRPA board promised it would not use the new revenue for economic-development projects. But it noted that about $35 million remained from previous borrowing that could be used for such spending. LINK
DRPA- The Delaware River Port Authority. Ever hear of them? Probably. Just like the Port Authority of New york / New Jersey. But do you know anything about them? Probably not. The DRPA is a quasi- governmental agency set up to administer the ports and bridges between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They are unelected bureaucrats who are appointed by the Governors of PA. & NJ. respectively. They are also tools of the highest order.
The bridges and ports of the Delaware River bring in millions of dollars every year. But in spite of what most of us would like to believe much of this money doesn’t go to bridge upkeep and maintenence (you know INFRASTRUCTURE). It goes to pet projects scattered on both side of the river labeled “economic development”. Millions of dollars collected from motorists every year is at the disposal of an unelected and unaccountable board to bestow on projects that make their list. Now how does a project make the list? I’ll leave that up to you to decide but it’s safe to say the board members are political appointees.
DRPA is so arrogant that after they promised not to spend any more money on “economic stimulus” they went ahead and did it anyway saying that it was money “already borrowed”. This begs the question why they are allowed to borrow this kind of money in the first place? Instead of “Economic stimulus” pet projects, toll money sould be spent on INFRASTRUCTURE like say Police and Fire service or stations. Hell even schools would be a better use.
In the past few years as the extent of DRPA’s benevolence has come to light citizens have become pretty outraged. Politicians not so much. DRPA has spent millions on projects that have nothing to do with the bridges or ports over the years at the same time seeking TOLL INCREASES! I’m not making this up. You want to know why we are in a fiscal abyss? Here you go. The DRPA’S mission has like every bureaucracy EXPANDED beyond bridge and port development.
DRPA’s tolls are in effect taxes. They are supposed to be dedicated taxes to pay for the legitimate costs of INFRASTRUCTURE repair. (Maintaining the bridges and ports) but they don’t see it that way. Doing that would be pretty boring and wouldn’t necessarily require the services of a board or committees. Just a few people to sign the paint contract for the bridges every five years or so. Come to think of it we have those people already. They are called Congressmen! By not performing the necessary upkeep they can spend the money on projects they deem socially necessary like a restaurant on Franklin Square.
This is what you get with big government liberal thinking. They take the tolls and taxes that are supposed to be for maintenance and spend them on things they could never get taxpayer approval for. It’s like a slush fund. When they run out of money they either borrow more or raise the tolls and taxes. Then they run around and crow about the Nations need for infrastructure repairs. The 64 thousand dollar question we should be asking is what happenes to tax money for the repairs in the first place? I can tell you. It was WASTED on ineffective programs, fraud and abuse. Plain and simple. Call me crazy but in my world bridge tolls are just high enough TO PAY FOR THE UPKEEP OF THE FRIGGING BRIDGES!
Now the Obama administration and the Democrats in congress are making a big deal about how they are going to ride to the rescue of our nations roads and bridges and bail out states with gigantic white elephant (Except white contractors need not apply) projects that will do nothing to fix this economy.
I’ll give you an example: Here in Philly we taxpayers recently bought two big league sports stadiums recently. The cost? 1 BILLION dollars. Ironically that’s how much Philly’s current deficit is. Now even with the Phillies winning the World Series these two stadiums will cost us money. They are an economic liability. What they did do was employ lots of construction workers (Most who don’t live in the city) temporarily. What did the city taxpayers get? Some low paying service type stadium jobs that will have little long term economic impact for the amount of money spent.
That is exactly what Obama is going to do. Spend a TRILLION dollars for some short term economic “Stimulus”. The problem is (Every serious economist knows it to be true and it is therefore irrefutable, like global warming, and no longer subject for debate) that as soon as these public works projects are finished everyone will then be unemployed again as the money goes through the system and the effect disapates. What is even MORE ironic is that big city Mayors are actually doing the EXACT OPPOSITEof the OBAMA plan. They have over the years SLASHED the number of infrastructure and maintainence jobs so the could increase their SOCIAL spending. Now the are crying poor mouth. It’s stunning.
Now on the other hand instead of taking money and handing it out for white elephants, if Obama would cut taxes on businesses and wages at least for a while, it would promote long term expansion and growth. When businesses are able to lower their tax burden they employ more people and expand. When government expands into areas they have no business being in you sap the treasury, stimulate inflation, create dependency, stifle growth and incur stagflation.
This is where we are headed. It is simply mind blowing that some of us look to the people who created this financial meltdown to bail us out. People like The DRPA!