Butler's latest endeavor is another pork-barrel project
Published: Sunday, January 30, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 29, 2005 at 10:46 p.m.
If Clark Butler's effort to have 24th Avenue four-laned is successful, it will certainly benefit him financially.
Although the community may also benefit in terms of decreasing traffic congestion, taxpayers are the real losers because the manner in which this negotiation has been executed perpetuates the practice of funding federal pork-barrel projects.
The $3 million giveaway for a four-lane road is one of 11,000 "deals" made by Congress in 2004, ranging from potato storage and beaver management in Wisconsin to asparagus technology in Washington to a cotton museum in Texas.
The list of pork goes on and on to the tune of almost $16 billion in the 2004 federal spending bill. The United States is drowning in debt, but there seems to be no lack of cash for special requests.
I have no opinion on whether 24th Avenue should be a two- or four-lane road. I can understand the arguments on both sides.
What I object to is the process in which a well-connected individual can bypass the system that the rest of us abide by to get special favors from the Legislature.
Our elected officials of both parties are so very generous with our money. I wonder how taxpayers in Iowa, Utah and New Jersey feel about paying for road enhancements for a shopping center in Gainesville.
Surely they will gladly surrender future Social Security benefits in order to see us have a good shopping experience here.
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