Tags: Barack Obama

Taxpayers Could Pay for Train They Never Ride

Friday, 10 July 2015 02:23 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Even a false prophet can inadvertently be correct. Back in 2009 a disdainful President Obama told former Congressman Eric Cantor “elections have consequences.”

Big–spending members of the Maryland legislature are discovering he was right.

Republican Larry Hogan was elected governor on a pledge to cut taxes, cut red tape and reduce spending. Hogan never held office before, but Maryland voters were evidently weary of the experienced spenders they had.

Voters are reaping the dividends of the upset. Hogan cut charges on every toll road in the state. The cash fee for crossing the Bay Bridge dropped from $6 to $4 and the E–ZPass charge was cut almost in half, to $2.50.

It’s the first time in 50 years tolls have been lowered.

Hogan also erased $1.50 monthly fee E–ZPass users were charged for the privilege of paying tolls in advance. Naturally, big–spending Democrats controlling the legislature were outraged. Their complaint was toll reductions save only a few dollars for individual drivers, but the state is going to lose $336 million.

Talk about your all–purpose argument. This is the flip side of the justification Democrats employ to defend raising taxes. (To date they have no argument encouraging tax cuts and no grasp of the concept the money originally belonged to taxpayers rather than vice versa.)

Hogan is also boosting spending on roads to 57 percent and cutting “mass transit” to 43 percent. This brings up an interesting point: Why are highways the only government program where usage is considered a failure?

VA hospitals turning away veterans? Build more hospitals. Homeless people cluttering up the sidewalks? Build more “affordable” housing. Highways congested and suburban taxpayers can’t get to work? Build a downtown trolley and more bike paths.

One thing Hogan announced that came as a surprise was approval for the “Purple Line,” a 16 mile, mostly ground–level light rail system that will connect liberal Democrats in Prince Georges County with socialist Democrats in Montgomery County.

Hogan had been extremely skeptical of the project during the campaign and after both counties voted overwhelmingly against him, approval prospects appeared bleak. Hogan’s ultimate go-ahead, after an extensive post-election analysis, may be even worse than a cancellation for supporters, because he is demonstrating the project can be done for less.
Democrats had been eager to spend $2.4 billion, before cost overruns, as soon as they elected a new Democratic governor.

Hogan’s version of the project reduces the state’s financial commitment from $700 million to $168 million — a giant 240 percent cut — along with another $210 million in cost reductions that no doubt ruined the trains for Washington Post readers since the new budget slashes “station art allowances by 50 percent.”

I would’ve thought designers could install a mural of Thomas the Tank Engine and be done with it, but that’s not good enough for Democrats with tax dollars to spend. The request for proposals — which assured applicants that inconvenient or contradictory “genetic information” would not be part of the decision process — wanted “artwork that makes the light-rail system distinct in its design and artistic impact, encourages civic pride, and serves as a positive symbol for the communities it passes through and connects.”

That sounds more like a job for the Redskin cheerleaders than “art” chosen by a panel of paper–pushing bureaucrats.

Hogan’s slimmed–down plan eliminates some station elevators, cuts the length of station platforms and increases the time between trains by 90 seconds. Another change is requiring Montgomery and Princes George’s to put their money where their transit is.

Hogan wants each county to put an additional $50 million into the pot. The Washington Post quoted Greater Washington Board of Trade President James C. Dinegar’s observation: “That puts this squarely in the lap of the counties, who have gone on record on how much they want this.”

So it’s all good news, right? Republican governor slashes the amount of money Maryland puts into the project, while requiring the counties that get all the benefit to shoulder more of the cost. Unfortunately that overlooks the gouging Obama plans for taxpayers in the other 49 states (56 if he is counting).

The feds have volunteered to contribute $900 million to a project that runs entirely within the state of Maryland. Taxpayers across the country will be paying almost a billion dollars for a train they will never ride. And you wonder why taxes are high and the debt is growing.

Bi–partisan Congressional spenders don’t care because no member wants to vote against another’s wasteful project when he’s planning one himself. And Maryland esthetes are hoping that if they ask nicely, Obama will volunteer to pick up the slack in the art budget, too.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

© Copyright 2015 Michael Shannon.



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Taxpayers across the country will be paying almost a billion dollars for a train they will never ride. And you wonder why taxes are high and the debt is growing.
Barack Obama
Friday, 10 July 2015 02:23 PM
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