Friday, February 19, 2010

Recovery Act Funds Are Not For Us

I find it appropriate that funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will not be coming to Fort Bend County as County Commissioner Richard Morrison had hoped.

The county again found it self flatfooted when Lamar Consolidated ISD built a brand new high school and middle school way out in the country, and the only roads to them are two lane country roads to accommodate the thousands of commuting students, teachers, support staff and administrators.

Roads that will be used by many cars and busses. One of them even crosses railroad tracks that are often used by trains as anyone who has ever driven out there knows.

According to this article in the Chron, Richard Morrison worked diligently to lobby for some stimulus money to pay for the widening of Crabb River Road, and that he had the support of Congressman Pete Olson, whose district includes that area.

But with the hue and cry coming from Republican governors, including Texas’ Rick Perry, about not accepting these federal dollars for projects in their state way back when the stimulus bill was passed early last year, as seen here. Perry has since reversed himself and is now enjoying the benefits of handing out millions of federal dollars to state law enforcement agencies, but I think the die was cast back in February, and I think that Republican districts here in Texas will continue to be caught behind the door as stimulus funds are doled out.

Case in point, as the Chron article spells it out, Fort Bend County, with its past and present dominance by Republican politicians and politics will not be seeing a single red cent of any Department of Transportation money to help Morrison widen the roads. In fact, statewide, only two transportation projects will be funded by the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grants, a $1.5 billion part of the stimulus bill.

And who got the grants? Both of them went to Dallas. One to fund a light rail expansion in downtown Dallas, and the other to help build a toll road.

Well I can understand one of the grants. Building light rail is future-thinking and the federal government needs to encourage expansion of public transportation systems. But funding a toll road?

Actually, I think that what is going on here is the Department of Transportation’s TIGER program demonstrating to Republican-dominated areas of the state that once again, all politics is local.

Dallas County went blue in 2006 and has stayed that way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hebert and his boys will let him do this and while we pay for it, they will push through the tolling project too. Thus us paying twice for the same project and the vendors being extremely happy. I would put money on this. It's what our politicians do so well....spend our money.