Monday, October 24, 2011

AHTD Got Windfall in 2009

Activist Par Excellence Christine Keller put us wise to this jewel: The Obama Stimulus plan "American Investment and Recovery Act" gave over $375,000,000 in borrowed money to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. Over $230,000,000 of that was in "discretionary funds."

 Given that they got a windfall of $230 million in discretionary funding in 2009, I find it particularly outrageous that proponents of the November 8th debt issue are claiming that the roads need so much maintenance that they will deteriorate if we don't vote to go $575 million in debt over the next few years to repair them. Didn't they know what the condition of the interstate system was when they got the $230 million windfall two years ago? Why didn't they use that money to do the maintenance?

Look, I think the Highway Commission is crying wolf, like public officials always do when asking taxpayers to give them more money. I think even if we vote the bonds down we can keep up the highways, and put ourselves in a stronger position going forward because we will not have to spend another $228 million on interest payments. But if they aren't, if the highways really are at the point of serious deterioration so that we really must borrow this money immediately, we should demand that they all resign at once. It would be shocking incompetence for them to blow a $235 million windfall they got two years ago on things beside interstate highway maintenance if the condition of the interstates really was so poor that we need to take on a lot more debt now to keep them from deteriorating. Either way, it would be most unwise to give this bunch another $575 million on credit.


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