Connecticut, like many states, is moaning over lack of money to repair its roads and the Hartford Yahoos want to bring back tolls to fund the “General Transportation Fund’s coffers. As usual, the GT/Courant’s report on the issue ignores the real issue, which is the diversion of fuel tax revenues to social redistribution projects like welfare and pet projects in legislators’ home districts. This year, only half the money collected from gasoline taxes is put into the fund and that’s actually an improvement: most years, for decades, the huge bulk of the money (75%, often), never sees pavement. Now they cry poverty.
Here’s the deal: giving money to politicians only guarantees that they’ll spend three times what they get their hands on. The gasoline tax won’t drop (see article above: “we can’t afford to”) and the toll revenue won’t go to repair bridges – history proves it. Hartford’s been raiding the highway fund since it was first created and it doesn’t spend the money for its purported justification, roads, because no politician in the history of the world has ever been photographed by the press in front of a bridge-painting crew. It’s new welfare clinics and free housing projects that accomplish that minor miracle, so that’s what’s done with it.
As an aside, but related, New Jersey collects both tolls and gasoline taxes, yet because it’s been diverting 100% of those revenues down its exit ramps and borrowing more money to pay for the occasional repaving, 100% of its highway revenue is spent on debt service for that previous borrowing and the fund is now bankrupt. This may be Bob Horton’s and the Greenwich Democrat’s solution to maintaining Greenwich’s own infrastructure, but it’s a lousy way to run a railroad.
Just like all their other ideas.