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Boondoggles: Federal Funds for “Transportation Enhancements”

Written by Gary North on May 2, 2012

The spending never stops. It never will until the Great Default. Here is another example.

The House has passed H.R. 2887, a bill to reauthorize expiring aviation and surface transportation programs for a few months.

Embedded in the bill are  Transportation Enhancements (TE). What is this? It is a program run by the Department of Transportation. It forces states to build bicycle paths, extend “highway beautification,” and build transportation museums. “In the past, federal funds have been used by states to build animal highways for salamanders, frogs, and turtles.”

States are forced to do this as a condition of receiving money to build and repair actual highways for people. This eats up 10% of all federally received highway funds.

Here are some doozies:

  • Monkton, Vermont—$150,000 (2010): The Monkton Conservation Commission received $150,000 in federal grant money to build a “critter crossing” to save the lives of thousands of migrating salamanders and other amphibians that would otherwise be slaughtered by vehicle traffic on a major roadway. Thousands of blue- and yellow-spotted salamanders, frogs, and other amphibians spend the winter months in the rocky uplands near Monkton but must return to low-lying wetlands in order to reproduce. To travel between these two areas, the salamanders must cross the heavily traveled Monkton-Vergennes Road.
  • Lake Jackson, Florida—$3.4 million (2009): Why did the turtle cross the road? To get to the other side of a stimulus project. The Florida Department of Transportation is planning to spend $3.4 million in stimulus cash for a wildlife crossing, otherwise known as an “eco-passage.” It will serve as an underground wildlife road-crossing for turtles and other animals that live in Lake Jackson, Florida. . . .

The Department of Transportation has 12 categories of projects. These include:

  • Pedestrian and bicycle facilities;
  • Pedestrian and bicycle safety and education activities;
  • Buying scenic or historic easements and sites;
  • Tourist and welcome centers; and
  • Landscaping and scenic beautification.

The federal budget will not be balanced until the Great Default. Then the change will be forced on Congress.

Continue Reading on blog.heritage.org

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5 thoughts on “Boondoggles: Federal Funds for “Transportation Enhancements”

  1. sherman4040 says:

    Typical DC crap! And I bet my conservtive Rep voted for this! These amounts are likely to be in the decimal points on any budget, but this is why we have a runaway fiscal situation in DC. They just can't learn until this runaway spending train goes over a cliff OR we the voters cast an exit ballot for them! We the people are now ultimately, going to be responsible ! We have to do the dirty work and vote out those who vote "YES" on spending Bills that are like the ones in this artical! They know that these Bill's are a big part of the problem and the reasons are manifoled; "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" kind of reasoning and I am sure there are other reasons! But we must get their attentuion, even if it takes another mid-term 2010 effort!

  2. dak605 says:

    I wondered why our little jerk water town with a volunteer fire dept and part time police dept got a BIKE PATH. We live in the North Woods of Michigan above Wisconsin. We don't need a bike path. More taxpayer paid services would be nice. More OBAMABUCKS down the toilet.

    Of course with the rate obama is driving up the price of gas, maybe we are ALL gonna need bike paths to get around.

  3. Frankly, I should very much welcome more bike paths, but not at the expense of federal taxes.

  4. I think they forgot something. The salamanders and turtles need a remedial reading course so they can follow the directions to the critter crossing. Or maybe just critter crossing police so those critters don't get out of line.

  5. Charlei hearne says:

    Any republican that voted for this bill should be voted out of office!!