$53 Billion in Rail Spending Keeps Us on an Unsustainable Track
In the midst of the economic recession, Vice President Joe Biden announced this week President Obama’s $53 billion plan for high-speed rail projects.
Didn’t Congress already fulfill Obama’s stimulus request to the tune of more than $787 billion in February 2009, with little to show for it? Unemployment has been at or above 9 percent for 21 straight months. Writing countless checks with taxpayer money didn’t create the jobs Obama predicted.
Thankfully, Congress – not the White House – has the final say on the federal budget. I will stand for fiscal conservatism during the debate and I expect my colleagues to do the same, especially considering our dire financial state. We cannot dig ourselves out of our $14.1 trillion debt by spending another $53 billion we don’t have on rail projects.
I’m pleased states are getting the message. Two governors were already offered high-speed rail dollars but they essentially said, “Thanks, but no thanks”.
USAToday reported, “Newly elected Republican Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin turned down the money, calling it wasteful and vowing not to use state funds for costly maintenance and upkeep.”
Furthermore, numerous governors across the union are taking action on their state budgets. According to the Wall Street Journal, “A theme of cuts and consolidation has emerged in budgets released so far by governors of both parties, such as those in California and New York (Democrats) as well as Arizona and South Dakota (Republicans).”
The Journal also includes some of the areas on the cutting block: “Fewer state agencies; fewer employees; and generally a smaller safety net for social services. State-funded universities would cost more. And local governments would play a bigger role in delivering services as well as paying for them.”
Kasich and Scott, along with the other governors, are aware of our unsustainable fiscal future and are putting a stop to the endless funding. I commend them for standing up for fiscal responsibility in their respective states. Now it’s Washington’s turn to follow suit.