Friday, April 28, 2006

Veto the Pork

Thankfully President Bush plans to veto the Pork. I just hope he sticks to his guns. The American taxpayer deserves better then to be saddle with $700 million in debt, so Biloxi can have a scenic boulevard.

According to the Sun Herald “We don't expect an editorialist or newscaster who has never been here even once to appreciate that fact; we do expect a president who has already been here 10 times to better understand the situation.” I have news for the Sun Herald, I live here and I see no reason to spend $700 million to move the CSX rail line that has just been repaired. Apparently I am not the only one if Letters to the Editor are anything to go by.

Ronald Salters of Ocean Springs says Too many details of this pork project are hidden.

Too many details of this pork project are hidden
It is hard to believe that $700 million is being misappropriated for the purchase of the CSX right of way. This is only the beginning of the funds that will be needed to tear down a perfectly functioning railroad and build a multi-lane monstrosity, the details of which are conspicuously hidden from public scrutiny. The casinos and Harrison County and are the only true beneficiaries of this outrageous pork barrel.
The real travesty is that no one has considered the fact that an east-west corridor currently exists along the CSX right of way through Harrison County. By using the existing service roads and easements a multi-lane, east-west corridor could be constructed and co-exist with the railroad for far less than $700 million.
The $700 million is an unsolicited arm-twisting by politicians who used to brag about building infrastructure and fiscal responsibility. We should not let politicians use strong-arm tactics to push their pet project through Congress, furthering this country's debt at a time when real needs are not being met.
There is a better use of $700 million; one need look no further than those who are desperately seeking housing and jobs as they are being handed eviction notices by FEMA.

William Hutter of Biloxi says Questions should have been answered earlier

Questions should have been answered earlier
Politics and ethics aside, there remains the issue of whether buying the CSX right of way for an east-west connector road is good public policy. I offer the following for consideration:
• If the tracks are retained for light rail use, how will safety be increased? On a limited-access, high-traffic connector road, how will traffic accidents be reduced?
• Most of the Coast casinos are located along the beachfront. Moving traffic away from their front door seems counter-productive. The hundreds of beachfront businesses we hope will rebuild will face the same disincentives.
• The dream for a scenic U.S. 90 may be overblown. Most of the Victorian houses are gone, and view of the water is being decreased by condominiums.
• Width greater than the CSX right of way will be required. That will come at the expense of the moderate-income houses that line the tracks.
• A limited-access road means street grids will be blocked and neighborhoods will be separated.
• If the main artery for Coast traffic is moved north of the beach, it does not make much sense to route traffic across Biloxi Bay onto old U.S. 90.
In summary, I fail to see how a project with the potential of increasing traffic, doing nothing for traffic safety, decreasing tax revenues, reducing affordable housing, dividing neighborhoods, and delaying construction of the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge is in my best interest or that of my fellow citizens. Had this project been fully discussed earlier we might have avoided the embarrassing situation in which we now find ourselves.

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