It seems little has changed over the past year. In Washington, it’s dirty business as usual. The 2005 Appropriations Bill was stock full of one outrageous earmark after another. Unfortunately, the 2006 Transportation Bill (H.R. 3058) bears a striking resemblance to its 2005 counterpart, doling out $5,888,000 for Joplin, Missouri’s very own "Bridge to Nowhere."
According to the Joplin Independent, millions of taxpayer dollars will be used to develop an interchange at Zora and Main Street to raise Zora Street from the east onto a bridge crossing North Maine Street in order to connect to Zora on the west.
According to the nonpartisan Citizens Against Government Waste, the City of Joplin requested the funding "purportedly to maintain safety and prevent congestion in the town of 50,000 people. But many local residents are adamantly opposed to the project. They maintain that the bridge and the interchange are being constructed on back roads that lie in the middle of nowhere. One resident noted, ‘They claim they are building this interchange to cut down congestion. There is no congestion. This is a deserted area in a small town.’"
What’s sad is that our Representatives and Senators are so accustomed to getting exactly what they want, they don’t stop to think about who is paying the price. There is a lot of talk in Washington about cutting spending, but there is very little action. The taxpayers of America would be better served by less talk and more courage.
Here is the question I put to American taxpayers: How many more "Bridges to Nowhere" do we need to fund before our representatives in Washington stop? I think two is more than enough.
Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee voted in favor of spending tax dollars on Missouri’s "Bridge to Nowhere" (Senate Roll Call Vote #264) on October 20, 2005.