Friday, April 16, 2010

North Shore April Fool's Day Field Trip

I had a LTE in my local weekly (Plum) today (4/15/2010) about Pittsburgh's North Shore Connector. We've discussed this disaster in Libertarian Pittsburgh posts long ago, but a local field trip article encouraged me to write. I'm glad they printed it, but I didn't like their editing. Here's the LTE as-submitted with the omitted parts in [bold].


Plum Advance Leader
Connector a symbol for poor government spending
April 15, 2010

Dear Editor:

While there's merit exposing students to engineering projects ("Plum High School students go underground for a look at Connector", Karen Zapf, 4/1/2010), there's a cruel irony in that [April 1st] piece.

The Connector, an admirable engineering accomplishment, is a classic example of a misguided, wasteful use of public money.

Politicians from Tom Murphy to Rick Santorum to Ed Rendell promoted it. Costs increased from $363 million in 2003 to $552 million today. It consumed limited resources, denying better uses. ["Even Governor Rendell eventually admitted, "I guess you've got to finish it, but it's a tragic mistake."]

Other tragic mistakes -- insane wars, punishing success with taxes, rewarding failure with bailouts, and buying votes with walking-around money, federal earmarks and entitlements -- have far costlier consequences.

State and local governments are $3 trillion in debt. The national debt tops $12 trillion. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans' benefits and federal pension obligations exceed $100 trillion. The dollar's value fell 10% in the past 12 months and is going down.

The cruel irony is that when those students stood in that hole beneath the Allegheny River, it was an inescapable metaphor for the hole in which their generation was placed.

Mark Crowley, Plum

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