Friday, May 20, 2005

Pork

Uncle Ted "Pork Barrel" Stevens has done it again, another huge service to the state of Alaska. First an over-the-top train depot replete with Corinthian tile and flying glass waves, and now a $1.5 million bus stop. No wonder we named an airport after him.

During the summer, I drive by the bus stop in question most every day. Trust me, it is a pretty decent bus stop, as far as bus stops go, already. In fact, it is a lot nicer as is that most bus stops anywhere else in the US. Stevens' proposed improvements coincide with the Museum expansion project, and his spokeswoman has said that "it is supposed to be a lot more than a bus stop... It needs to have a way to smoothly transition all these people" between the center of downtown and the new museum. Trust me again, this is the biggest crock of bull the Senator has spun since, well, probably just since the last appropriations bill.

See, the way downtown is constructed, tourists and locals funnel into the few blocks between C and I streets and 3rd and 6th streets. There is a large successful mall on 5th, a variety of tourist shops down 4th, and not much else outside of that. The Museum is on 5th and A, a little ways out of the center, and most people don't stray that far, and, if they did, why would anyone just say "hey, let's spend a few hours in the Anchorage Museum of History and Art!" People aren't that cultured.

Furthermore, Alaska's public transportation system is essentially useless. The Municipality of Anchorage spans so much area (more than most major cities, even), there is no good way to run a bus system. Even when there is a route that is convenient enough to take with only a few transfers, the busses run so infrequently that you have to wait longer than it would take to walk or hitch a ride. In Anchorage, especially in the winter, you simply need a car.

On one hand, I'm glad that Uncle Ted can be so good to the ol' AK. I mean, we pay enough in federal taxes (but not state taxes, mind you), and I like getting back as much of my money as possible. I don't, though, like that it is taken from my by force, and then piddled away on bus stops and new terminals for the airport. I'm not saying much new here, no one really likes taxes, but Stevens is simply out of control, abusing his chairmanship to get valuable funds.

It's a good thing he's not in the chair position anymore, but how many other lawmakers are there like him, just leaching as much cash as they can while the country falls further and further into debt?

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