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.