Saturday, May 6, 2006
Historically, what’s the one kind of public works project that the taxpayer is always happy to support? New schools? No. Public housing? Don’t make me laugh. It’s highway construction, of course. Road bond referenda are so often put on the ballot because lawmakers expect taxpayers to vote overwhelmingly in favor of spending money to get them to and fro more quickly, while the lawmakers can avoid voting for higher taxes.
Across the nation, however, governments are finding that road-building costs are skyrocketing and that projects must be put on hold. One of the causes is the tremendous world demand for supplies, generated by the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes, the war in Iraq, and contracts from construction-happy China. And as all consumers know, any good or service that requires a lot of American labor (as opposed to overseas sweatshop labor) is bound to be expensive.
State and local governments’ postponing highway construction –- How un-American!