Where Does the Money Go in New Orleans and Delaware?

“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please” – Mark Twain

Does anybody remember hurricane Katrina, the massive storm that destroyed much of Mississippi’s gulf coast … oh, and also flooded New Orleans? (Don’t kid yourself – Mississippi took the brunt of the storm, but it’s coastal cities were not below sea level.) In the aftermath charges flew that Republicans had left New Orleans defenseless.  Alas, it came out afterwards that plenty of money had been sent by the Republican congress to strengthen the levees, but local politicians and bureaucrats diverted the funds to projects with better political payouts.

Why bring Katrina up now? I just came across an article over at yahoo titled “Crucial East Coast Highway Bridge Closed.” The bridge in question is on I-495 in Wilmington Delaware. Now, I have a question for the reader: have you ever traveled up I-95 from Maryland through Delaware on to New Jersey? The Delaware tolls are usurious. In a 15 mile stretch you’ll pay something like $11 (that’s round trip, if I recall). Where does all that money go?

One would presume that the money goes to maintaining the roadways … apparently not though. Apparently bridges can have support structures start “leaning” without any prior maintenance or warning from the presumably well-heeled state highway commission. Wonder just how big of a traffic headache this will be – and whether any Delawareans will start asking where all that toll money went?

Now, I grant you that preventative maintenance can’t catch any and every issue. Still, there is a rather interesting story somewhere in here when the most egregious toll-taking state has roadways that start to crumble.

It’s always the same story. “We need this new revenue stream to fund this important thing.” But the money never really goes to where it’s supposed to. Lotteries are always built on the basis of “education funding” – but they don’t seem to increase education funding at all. Sure, the lottery money all goes to education, but the general revenue money that had gone to education gets diverted to other, more politically-connected projects and programs. (Don’t take that as opposition to lotteries or support for more education funding. Those are arguments for a different post. What I care about here is simply truth in advertising from those lying politicians.)

And so the game goes on. Here’s hoping some over-eager investigative journalist picks up the story and runs with it.

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