Friday, August 10, 2007

THE letter-to-the-editor of the Year, so far ...

August 8, 2007

Mr. Dean Stone, Editor
The Daily Times
307 E Harper Ave
Maryville, TN 37804

Subject: Pork Barrel vs. Bridge Repair

Dear Editor,

Nearly $7 million in U.S. Highway Transportation funds were secured by Senator Lamar Alexander for the construction of an unpopular funded Civic Arts Center located on the property of Maryville College. Most local taxpayers objected to the use of local tax money for this building which was not owned by the local governments. The Federal portion was just a forgotten background note as most citizens view Federal money as coming from some free source not directly linked to their tax dollars.

Now comes the Minnesota bridge collapse which is linked to a lack of funding (U.S. Highway Transportation) for repairing bridges. There is such a shortfall in available funding we hear that we might have to raise the Federal gasoline tax (which funds bridge repair). I say baloney! The funding to keep our bridges safe was there until numerous pork barrel projects such as the local Civic Arts Center robbed the funds.

Now to be sure, Lamar is not the only Senator to “bring home the bacon” from other Federally earmarked funds to his local friends. I am not trying to single him out. However, should Maryville College erect crosses in the lawn of the new Civic Arts Center in memory of the Minnesota people who died because someone took the funds from their bridge repair budget?

The Civic Arts Center was called a transportation improvement program in order to qualify for Federal funding. Was it given a higher priority than the Minnesota bridge? Pork Barrel projects always cost somebody; and some have paid with their lives. Kind of gives one pause before congratulating a politician for “bringing home the bacon”.


W.W. (Sunny) Day
Louisville, TN 37777

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