Comments about ‘In our opinion: Wasting highway funds’

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Published: Friday, Sept. 16 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

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ECR
Burke, VA

"The Heritage Foundation found that 38 percent of highway funds were spent on local sidewalk and beautification projects, bike paths and other necessities for livable communities."

Is it really your contention that making our local roadways more aesthetically pleasing and getting bicycles off the roadways is a bad thingand NOT related to highway funding?

The bill passed in Congress this week, and also in the Senate last night, is a stopgap funding bill to avert a shutdown of federal aviation and highway programs with Federal Aviation Administration funding set to expire at the end of this week. So you would suggest that it was appropriate to cut off funding for the FAA and all of its necessary services, like air traffic control?

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica said that while the bill signifies a bipartisan agreement to move forward, "it must not be just a temporary Band-Aid for our important aviation, highway, rail and safety programs and for job creation. This action represents a last chance to roll up our sleeves and get transportation projects in America moving again."

Your suggestion to do otherwise is shortsighted and irresponsible.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

Although it is hard to disagree that federal tax dollar shouldn't be misspent, it is telling that this article relies on the right wing think tank, the Heritage Foundation, for some of it's "facts". It is also revealing that the authors use right wing catch phrases like "environmentalist agenda", a term which has no real meaning. It is very hard to take the DNews seriously when they write editorials with such a hard ultra conservative edge, and get their "research" information from organizations with obvious agendas.

Screwdriver
Casa Grande, AZ

We wouldn't want all those Dr's, lawers, nurses and businessmen to get to work. Who's business friendly? Not the tea-party types.

Esquire
Springville, UT

Are you saying Utah should fund its own highway system? Are you kidding me? Utah could not have afforded the I-15 reconstruction that has been ongoing for many years. It simply could not have been done. It is easy to take this position AFTER the money has been spent and the project built. This is an astounding position from a paper that is supposed to be a leader. you are no different than the selfish tea party crowd who don't think things through but instead echo political rhetoric.

By the say, "local sidewalk and beautification projects, bike paths and other necessities for 'livable communities'" are indeed related. If cars are taken off the roads, there are commuting alternatives, etc. not only is the quality of life improved, there is also less wear and tear on the roads and bridges infrastructure. It is actually a good investment.

You have fallen into the political games trap of the Republicans in Washington. I am deeply disappointed.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Anyone that needs to quote the Heritage Foundation to prove their point, needs to seriously reanalyze the point they're making. These are the same folks that don't believe that poor people need microwaves and refrigerators....

one old man
Ogden, UT

Oh, so we let our highway system fall apart?

Wise. Really wise.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

If anyone ever wants clear proof that the current incarnation of conservatives (_not_ conservatives of Eisenhower or Reagan's eras) are contemptuous of long-neglected and urgently needed improvements to critical national infrastructure, so that oil companies and millionaires may have still more tax breaks, while keeping unemployment high (to keep the rage machine in high gear for election fundraising), look no further than this editorial.

The Heritage Foundation?

Really, Deseret News?

ljeppson
Salt Lake City, UT

You ridicule "bike paths and other necessities for livable communities." Bikes can be practical transportation if given half a chance. BTW, is this piece a D-News editorial or something else? It's not clear.

EJM
Herriman, UT

I just find it amazing that with all of our rhetoric here locally about the intrusiveness of the federal government into local affairs (and the national debt fiasco) that our state legislature continues to have its' hands out asking for more money for roads. So I guess that national debt thing doesn't matter when it comes to getting money for roads, but it does matter when it comes to education. What hypocrisy.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

We have federal roads, i.e. I-15, I-80, I-70, US40. We have state roads, i.e. State Route 111. And, we have county and city roads. After driving more than two-million miles (that's not a typo), I haven't seen the need for bicycle paths on federal roads. Sure, some people ride their bicycles on US40, US89, US91 and other federal roads, but it wouldn't make practical sense to add bicycle paths to those roads.

Bicycle paths should be part of the State/County/City road system and paid by State/County/City funds collected from State/County/City citizens.

EJM
Herriman, UT

Is the creation of a federal highway system an enumerated power under the Constitution? In reading it I see that the federal government has the power to create post offices and post roads but nowhere do I see that power enumerated, spelled our specifically under the Constitution. But, we have interstates being paid for by tax dollars. I would enjoy reading comments by posters on this issue. Again, we get upset about the federal debt. We get upset about federal intrusion in our lives. We get upset about the Constitution and the federal government engaged in activities that for some are seen as unconstitutional. Should this be one of those activities that only the states should now be responsible for?

bricha
lehi, ut

What I don't understand is why no one here is talking about all the apparent waste in Highway funds. Maybe I just don't understand, but it seems like we rip up the same roads every year. As an example right now they are repaving I-15 every night from draper to Lehi. Didn't we just finish that stretch of road a few years ago. I personally think quality control can be managed a lot better at a local level.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "So I guess that national debt thing doesn't matter when it comes to getting money for roads, but it does matter when it comes to education. What hypocrisy."

To get back to the point -- the opinion piece decries the waste of federal roadbuilding funds. Liberals love to change the subject, when backed into a corner, but it is inarguable the federal roadbuilding funds are being squandered on a lot of liberal feelgood waste that is completely unrelated to efficient road transportation.

This is s standard liberal tactic -- gain power by arguing that interstate roadbuilding is a proper exercise of federal authority, then engage in vote-buying profligacy in the exercise that authority.

All with funds fleeced from people that would never donate to their cause.

Hypocrisy, indeed.

giantfan
Farmington, UT

The point of this editorial is that the federal government holds more power over states then they were ever intended to. They are spending us into bankruptcy and the example of the gas tax is spot on in that once a tax is implemented, it is near impossible to rescind it, even when it's promised.

Why should we have to beg for monies to build things like highways when we, as citizens, pay into it every time we fill up our gas tank? Why isn't it reasonable to get rid of the federal gas tax and leave it up to the states on how they want to build and maintain their highways? Right now, if the state wants to improve a stretch of existing I-15 and if they request federal dollars that once resided in the pockets of Utahns anyway, they have to agree to all federal standards, like 15 foot sound walls to insulate highway noise from houses that didn't even exist when the highway was originally built. Some of you may think that a good idea but shouldn't that be a local government decision and not that of Washington?

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

EJM,

Eisenhower built the Freeway system citing national defense as the criteria. He knew that moving an army via the existing roads would never work if we were attacked.

From Wikipedia:

"Eisenhower gained an appreciation of the German Autobahn network as a necessary component of a national defense system while he was serving as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II.[6] He recognized that the proposed system would also provide key ground transport routes for military supplies and troop deployments in case of an emergency or foreign invasion."

EJM
Herriman, UT

So that excuse for the building of the interstate highway system justifies the building of it when it is not enumerated under the Constitution? Sounds like Article 1, Section 8 and the "necessary and proper" clause came through again. All I am asking is this. We all, as Americans, cannot say that one program is constitutional and another is not. Take that back. We can say that but we have to realize that the Supreme Court is the Court of Last Resort and has the final say as to the constitutionality of programs. Americans can agree to disagree on this. Mike, I know that you are a strict constructionist and like to post on here your views as to programs that you feel are unconstitutional under that view of the Constitution. My argument with those who hold that view is that they like to pick and choose as to which ones should be, and which ones should not be, constitutional. I was tossing out a nugget there. Nice to know that you aren't playing the "enumerated" card on this one and that deep down...you are more of a loose constructionist after all. Thanks!

ljeppson
Salt Lake City, UT

Well, here's the thing, very large infrastructure projects seem to require some significant federal involvement. For the example the rebuild of the rail freight corridor out of Washington into the interior is a cooperative of Norfolk Southern Railway, states, local governments, and the feds. It's probablly not practical to be purist in how we do these things.

Esquire
Springville, UT

@ bricha, quality control IS at the local level. The feds don't do it, they just provide the funds to the state. The state and local entities execute. So much for the quality of local control....

OHBU
Columbus, OH

giantfan: "They are spending us into bankruptcy and the example of the gas tax is spot on in that once a tax is implemented, it is near impossible to rescind it, even when it's promised."

Like the Bush tax cuts? Just as stop-gap measures to increase resources are hard to rescind, so is it very difficult to reverse measures that were intended only as a temporary relief. The road runs both ways.

As to the local vs national argument when it comes to highway funds, keep in mind that a good portion of the travelers are not local. Did you buy groceries lately? What if Nevada decided to not spend money on its highways, making direct passage from California by truck unfeasible? Does it affect you when you pay higher bills on groceries to allow Nevada a lower highway fund?

Our nation owes much of its prosperity to its infrastructure, and to let that go is what will lead to the end of our economic position.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

EJM,

I think that you've inserted more into my post than what I wrote.

During the "Cold War" Eisenhower claimed that we needed a roadway system to enable the military to move troops and equipment from any point to any point. We already know that the military needs airbases for military airplanes. We already know that the military needs its own "Internet". In fact, DARPANET (Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration Network) was the beginning of our current Internet.

Just how is the military supposed to move equipment and troops without roads?

Defense is listed at least six times in Article 1, Section 8. It is an enumerated duty of the federal government.

Taxes were levied to pay for those roads. Those taxes were to have expired, but Congress added to them, which is the problem upon which the Deseret News based its editorial.

The federal government has limited duties. Building bicycle paths is not a function of the federal government. Building roads for military deployment is a function of the federal government; just as much of a function as building military bases and airports.

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