Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pig Pickin' on Bike Trails

Glenn Reynolds has got a great idea going over at Instapundit -- encourage your Congressmen and Senators to help pay for the Katrina reconstruction by cutting pork out of the budget. He's calling it Porkbusters.

I'm all for it.

But I've noticed that both local and far-away bloggers are singling out bike and pedestrian trails as particularly "porky." Hmmm.

Two points.

(1) Trails help poor people. I see commuters every day whose bike (or their feet) is their primary transportation to work. A lot of those people work along high-traffic roads like Battleground Avenue. There are no sidewalks along many such roads in Greensboro. That "porky" Battleground trail will greatly increase people's safety and ease of access to work and retail.

(2) In the world of transportation projects, bike and pedestrian trails are small potatoes -- tater tots! --, and account for a miniscule amount of all transportation pork. For example, the Battleground trail project is getting $800,000. The cost of improvements along a 1.4-mile stretch of Friendly Avenue: $5.9 million.

Trimming a few meager strips of gristly fat from little trail projects isn't really going to help much, folks.

Go for the soft, bloated, belly-hanging-over-the-belt projects: unneeded roads that benefit only Congressmen and their road construction industry pals.

1 comment:

Russ said...

#1 easy pork project: the $20 million bridge to Sunset Beach, which is a 2 mile long bridge to a 3 mile long barrier island. The local political body rejected the notion of a smaller, MUCH cheaper draw bridge that would solve current problems, despite a fight from the Coastal Federation and the Southern Environemental Law Center. This is a good chance for Environmentalist and fiscal-soundness types to be on the same side (I think they should be on the same side on a normal basis).
Let your state representatives know that we need to fix a lot of other bridges before we fund that pork barrel project.