Governor Displays Hypocrisy over Failing Bridges

In what can only be described as arriving incredibly late to a crucial government problem, Pennsylvania’s Governor is now bemoaning the condition of the state’s bridges. Yesterday (Aug 5), the Governor was quoted as saying, " If we don’t do something about finding the money to do repairs of our roads, our bridges, our highways, our mass transit systems, they’re either going to become more and more dangerous or we’re going to have stop traffic from going over these bridges."

"These bridges" is a reference to the 5,646 bridges in the state that have been deemed structurally deficient. The deplorable condition of roads and bridges in Pennsylvania is a long standing problem that has existed throughout the eight years of the governor’s tenure.

So now that the Governor is in the last six months of his second term and is quickly attaining lame duck status, he is suddenly concerned about roads and bridges.

This is the same Governor who led the effort to divert scarce Federal highway funds to mass transit. It is the same Governor who has propelled state overall spending upward at a very fast rate during his time in office with hefty emphasis on education and economic development. Rather than focusing on making sure the critical highway system received top priority, the Governor used highway money to shore up Pittsburgh’s outrageously expensive transit system, pushed an ill-conceived and eventually failed plan to toll I-80, and spent several billion dollars underwriting subsidies to businesses with precious little to show for all the money. And little wonder: given the state’s poor business climate and the rapidly deteriorating condition of the roads and bridges what could we expect?

Ultimately, no amount of spending on education or handouts to business will offset the negative impact horrible highways have on the economy. Call it what it is. On the one hand endless generosity to the state’s teacher unions and on the other dogged determination to make a failed economic development strategy work while being derelict in carrying out one of government’s basic functions-transportation infrastructure.