Tuesday, March 4, 2008

$91 million lost?! Noooooooooooooo!

The JS' Larry Sandler tells us today that the feds won't give us $91.5 million for transit improvements because the money we counting on for studying how to spend the $91.5 million is gone.

The feds say the study account is broke, which makes it a lot like the local transit system, which is broken.

Ald. Robert Bauman is planning for a discussion of the matter Wednesday during the Common Council's Public Works Committee. Let's have a discussion more about how to get the money back than who is to blame for losing it in the first place. Getting it back is, at this point, a lot more urgent.

Unfortunately, getting it back may also be nigh impossible. The Bush Administration, after all, has discovered fiscal conservatism and finding a way to withhold $91.5 million from a community that can't find a way to spend it would make a dandy example for fiscal conservatism show-and-tell.

There is another reason it may be impossible to restore the funds. The feds vastly underfund transit already, and President Bush is proposing to move $3 billion from transit spending next year to support highway spending instead.

And now our reps are going to go to Washington and say, "We couldn't decide how to spend more than $90 million for 17 years, but can we have money to study how to spend it so we can fight over it some more?"

The feds may be laughing too hard to sign the check.

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