Lew Rockwell.com has a piece by Ron Paul on our aging infrastructure. He doesn’t mention pigeon poop, which is highly acidic and may have contributed to the collapse, but he does mention some things that are a little troubling. It’s true that our highway system has some issues, and actions are already being implemented to address these issues.
I guess the most bothersome thing about this article is it’s timing. Let’s just pluck the flavor of the day from the tree, and blame everyone else for what’s happening. The fact is maintaining the highway system is incredibly expensive, and tax revenues alone are not up to the challenge. Much of the system is over 40 years old, and decrying “ribbon cutting” as the cause for its condition is verging on scandalous. While its true that the occassional bridge to nowhere ends up on a budget, the vast majority of highway dollars are spent on…well…highways. If you don’t believe me when is the last time you went anywhere and weren’t hampered by road construction? These projects aren’t cheap, and recent efforts to tie in private enterprise is showing promise, as will an increase in the gas tax.
The Trans Texas Corridor section of the article is downright erroneous, and goes against some of his most prominent beliefs. This is a case of state government and free markets working together to improve the quality of life from a safety and economic standpoint. It has nothing to do with NAFTA, as Cinta is a Spanish based company. His allegation that this is phase one of a NAFTA Superhighway is unsubstantiated, and therefore political rhetoric.
What is factual is that this route doesn’t pass through Ron Paul’s districts, as one of the alternate route’s (I-69) did. This means no revenue from the Trans Texas Corridor will directly affect his district, and in light of the fact that he sought funding for I-69 as recently as this year, it would not be a huge leap of logic that Ron Paul is unhappy with the route.
Further Cinta is not only paying for a massive section of the corridor, (the section they will receive toll revenue from), but is also required to maintain it. This while splitting toll revenue with the state on a sliding scale that will reach 50% prior to the end of the contract. If someone offered to build you a businesss, maintain it, and give you half the proceeds, would you feel it was a bad deal? Thought not.
This article may be the first time I’ve ever felt Ron Paul was not only wrong, but hypocritical. His free market stance and strong state government position is a matter of public record. But calling for government oversight seems to be more big government interjection in a state issue. Why is Ron Paul making unsubstantiated allegations, and calling for federal oversight of a state issue? Maybe because like one of my readers once said, Ron Paul is for his freedom, and against mine.