Oregonians Are Losers

Willamette Week recently touted Oregon’s congressional delegation as “winners” for bringing home $2.7 billion of federal bacon for road and transportation projects. Unfortunately, Oregon’s federal taxpayers are perennial losers. If you were robbed, and later recovered a few of your possessions, would you consider yourself a winner?

The federal government continually squanders resources on special-interest projects that bring no discernible benefit to the State of Oregon. Thanks to the most recent $286 billion transportation bill, we are now subsidizing the construction of a $223 million bridge to a remote island in Alaska. The “bridge to nowhere,” will be taller than the Brooklyn Bridge and almost as long as the Golden Gate Bridge; yet will regularly serve less than fifty people living on the island. This is just one of 6,371 pet projects in the transportation bill, a new record for Congress.

For Oregonians to be winners, we need to get the federal government out of the transportation business. Surely Oregon needs roads, but why should our tax dollars go through the federal government to build them? The State of Oregon is quite capable of managing its own road system, without interference from 2,800 miles away. As long as Oregon’s transportation dollars continue to be funneled through the federal government, Oregonians will be losers.

Richard Page is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland, Oregon based think tank.

© 2006, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

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