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  • Federally Funded Boulders for Nevada

    Yesterday, I wrote about the House-passed bill H.R. 2887, which would reauthorize expiring aviation and surface transportation programs for a few months.

    Senator Tom Coburn (R–OK) is expected to offer an amendment to remove a mandate that forces states to waste 10 percent of all Federal Highway Administration money on something called Transportation Enhancements (TE). TE is a program run by the Department of Transportation to force states to build bike paths, “highway beautification,” and transportation museums.

    From my blog post:

    In the past, federal funds have been used by states to build animal highways for salamanders, frogs, and turtles. And liberals say there is little waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government. In defense of the states, they are forced—as a condition of receiving money to build and repair actual highways for people—to spend about 10 percent of all federally received funds on such silly enhancement projects.

    Add rocks and plants to that list.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D–NV) home state has used federal highway money to put “great big granite boulders” next to a highway interchange to make it look nice. One could argue that highway beautification is dangerous, because drivers are distracted by nice boulders and flowers on the roadside when they are supposed to be concentrating on driving.

    In 2008, Nevada received transportation money with $6.2 million set aside for bike paths and boulders. According to KTNV in Las Vegas, $498,000 in federal funding went for “decorative rocks, native plants, some pavement graphics, a few walls, and some great big granite boulders” to make Las Vegas’s 215 beltway look nice.

    That’s not the end of it: The Nevada Department of Transportation paid another $319,000 to spruce up another interchange with rocks and plants.

    According to the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse, Nevada has received $46.7 million for pedestrian/bike paths, $14.5 million for highway landscaping/scenic beautification, and $6.6 million for rehabilitation/operation of historic transportation buildings from fiscal years (FY) 1992 through 2010.

    The numbers nationally are staggering. A report titled Transportation Enhancement Spending Report: Analysis of the States’ Use of Federal Funding, dated May 2011, found $12.5 billion of your tax dollars in highway funds for projects other than highways:

    The Fiscal Year 2010 Spending Report explains how states spent nearly $12.5 billion in Transportation Enhancement (TE) funds from fiscal year (FY) 1992 through the end of FY 2010.

    Want a common-sense idea? Stop placing boulders near highways in Nevada using precious tax dollars.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    25 Responses to Federally Funded Boulders for Nevada

    1. Alan says:

      Please stop repeating nonsense. Our country is in difficult times and sorely in need of honest debate if we are ever to get a better place. Adding distortion damages our country and democracy. If you think you have a good argument, you need to address the points that people have made countering your comments. Not responding to sincere and valid comments indicates that you either understand that your arguments are very weak or you are only interested in hearing your own voice. Either case does nothing to improve our country's public discourse.

      If you think that people who use bikes or feet to get around are not people worthy of your consideration or that Federal funding should only be used to prevent deaths of people in cars, then make that argument straightforwardly, not by easily refuted mocking nonsense. I am sure that the families of those people included in the 13% of traffic fatalities would be interested to hear a thoughtful argument from you only why it is a waste of funds to reduce such deaths.

      • Slick says:

        You want a bike path in your neighborhood? Help raise DONATIONS to pay for it! You want boulders? Go buy one and put it in plain view! You want plants? Go buy them and plant them yourself.

        WHY do you think it is MY responsibility to help pay for YOUR scenic bike path???? I do not CARE if you ride your bike across a desert, or over a mountain goat trail or along the right-of-way on the highway! I do not care whether you have plants, or rocks, or critters along your path so you don't fall asleep at the wheel! I DO NOT CARE how you pay for YOUR bike path EXCEPT if you expect ME to help foot the bill.

        Do what people used to do: if you want something, figure out a way to raise the money locally and pay for it yourself!!! Good Lord, our country has truly become a nanny state when people use the catch phrase of "for the good of all" to cover every expenditure in the book no matter how expensive or how ridiculous. You just go ahead and stamp your feet, yell and scream . . . that is NOT going to fix the financial disaster we face, and until you decide to face the fact that spending has to change if we are going to get out of this mess, you continue to be part of the PROBLEM, not the solution!!!!

        Don't you people get it????? WE DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY to waste on ANYTHING anymore. We barely can pay for essentials, and the last time I looked a bike path with enhancements is not considered essential. ESSENTIAL is food, shelter, heat and a job!!!!!!!!

        • Alan says:

          Let's keep it simple here with just one question.
          Do you live on a private road and only travel private roads that you personally have paid for or do you think it is my responsibility to pay for your roads?
          Please respond. I am interested to hear your how your thinking works on this.

      • Bobbie says:

        If you don't think it's a good argument to suggest we could have jobs in the private sector, paid by the private sector to build the economy in it's rightful place, without need to raise taxes for government make work, then I guess you win. Oh by the way, reducing deaths regarding accidental is up to the persons self control. Not government illusion to convince you otherwise.

        • Alan says:

          Bobbie- one question for you.

          We currently have 40,000 traffic deaths each year in the US. Do you think those deaths are only due to the dead person's self control and that government should have no part in reducing that number? That would of course mean that there should be no government spending on traffic law enforcement, no driver's ed, no government drivers testing.

          I am very interested to hear your thinking on this point. I just want to be sure I understand what you envision for how such a world would operate. I look forward to your response.

          • Bobbie says:

            Oh, do you? You're irrationally impractical! It's personal discretion Alan, no matter how much money in government hands you think is going to save lives. government interference for ridiculous make work going to save your exact rounded number of 40,000 people is gross and speculative, even without the number. America has traffic laws, people learn from them when they're enforced. You give little to no credence to individual intelligence. That's not very nice, Alan. Did America just turn to stupid so we can pay to look to government to watch over us? Grow up, Alan. Quit looking forward to the destruction of liberty!

      • Aaron says:

        How do bike paths, pedestrian easements, and wildlife crossings affect interstate commerce? They don’t, so federal funds should not be applied. Federal highway dollars are to ensure interstate commerce, and nothing more. Anything additional should be delegated to the local and state level.

    2. Bobbie says:

      once again, costs and scenery we can do without. Nature is much more beautiful than man made at a cost! Is Obama getting the country all prettied up for the take-over of America's finest principles in the world?

      Lets get some real jobs that generate money! Like America use to freely have before Obama! Let's bring back what works that builds personal ambitions with the opportunity to fulfill the individual American dream without government costs, control or influence.

      Because we're in a crisis of government abuse, over regulating private sector businesses and companies who cover their own costs, out of commission, the only jobs available are becoming tax paid, government controlled! Why does anyone want or need that and that expense?? America waits for a government job to become available as America is doing now with obama's unfair and unsustainable government jobs market plan of make-work. Deregulate. We need permanent jobs with wages that are worth the job and according to the business owner, not government.

      When government is in control, it's not just the company that goes out of business, it's the country. Let's let Obama know we can take care of ourselves with OUR money…

    3. Brenda says:

      Beautifying our highways should be a local affair, it is definitely not the federal government's concern. And I mean local, not even the state government's concern. It should be left to city and county at most and maybe even individuals, but I bet we wouldn't be allowed to do that.

      • Dara says:

        Guess who our Senator is here in Nev…? Yup! (Uncle) Harry Reid! The 215 is in the middle of barren desert where no flowers or trees grow naturally… let alone granite boulders! They started this junk years ago – along the Boulder Highway – 93/95 – these plants – unlike the native flora require regular watering… most of which ended up on the roadway – and passing vehicles.

        S. Nev then rushed to requisition (steal) water from the Northern part of the state… didn't work – we don't much like Prince Harry – and put the skids on the old fossil (Reid) We kept OUR water for OUR citizens, OUR ranches and cattle.

        Reid's been busy raping the US Government for about 26 years now… and… due to his jacking of votes by way of the Unions and Illegal Alien population we can't seem to get rid of him!

        He's no good for the US and he's become filthy rich through shady land deals and government bribes to wealthy developers…

        Wake up Southern Nevada – we in the North can't get rid of him by ourselves.

    4. nathan says:

      i'm interested in reading more about the "animal highways." can you post source material? where were these put in? when? was the governor a democrat or republican?

      • Ken says:

        Animal highways are places where certain types of animals can safely cross under the highway. I would think this would not be a great cost and saves wildlife lives. There is one location out west in Colorado or Wyoming where there are plans to construct a bridge over the interstate so pronghorn can cross safely. This is one that will cost extra but as a hunter and conservationist I believe it will be money well spent. Either of the above state websites can probably provide more info.

      • Citizen says:

        One is in Marion County, FL just south of Ocala. Installed over I-75 about 6-7 years ago. Republican(?) governor – Charlie Crist. Also, you may have heard of the "Turtle Tunnel" in north FL, possibly Leon County. It made a lot of news prior to the 2010 election so you should be able to google it and find what you want to know.

    5. nugykent says:

      if we had the cash this would be alright to do but we are broke. can not the people in congress see this.i can not beleive that people can be so STUPID

    6. Robert A Hirschmann says:

      In Washington common sense is nonexistent. This is why we are in the the position we are in. Instead of cutting out stupid expenditures like this they just borrow more money to pay the debts they already have. With the spender-in-chief we have in the white house now nothing will change. Common sense and logic are apparently dirty words to the government.

    7. Laura says:

      If we can't have term limits, we need a citizen's watch dog committee to have the final say on what is spent in Washington D.C..They should be Unwilling to pocket any extra money or be bribed themselves. I think it should be senior citizens that have lived good solid responsible lives and, of course, they should be GOPs!

    8. Lee Burns says:

      Yes – this is another excellent choice of "money savers" for the (super committee) to ponder.
      Wouldn't it be great if our elected officials would make these decisions as former Speaker
      Gingrich suggests instead of the time wasting (committee)?

    9. cecelia says:

      I am in agreement that what nature has created in the way of beauty man cannot surpass or replicate, I am at odds with any type of personal attacks of intent or integrity on the Senator representing my home state Though not always in favor or agreement with some proposed initiatives he has set forth I do believe his heart is in the proper place, and have respect for what Nevadians consider to be the underlying motivations jobs, in a place where 14.5 % is the the low conservative estimate of the unemployed. I am a fiscally conservative centrist and share a belief system that The Heritage reflects , personal responsibility, traditional, exceptionalism, values I believe in, what I hope for is that the the common thread will be the one that binds in allocations for Fed funding .

    10. William says:

      I dont believe the value of improving the aesthetics of our highways with rocks is worth the cost.. We continue to build decorated walls, custom desert and rock landscaped areas. Sure, this is a way to keep construction companies that are contracted by the government at work, but who overlooks the waste ? If you took one foot off the 25 foot concrete walls that is on both sides of highway, This would save us $100,000's of dollars. If you took 6" off the center concrete median, it would save even more……. Who looks these cost ??? Sure it is cheaper to build now, but we are broke!
      Spending money that we dont have.
      This is a waist of money for us all !

    11. carol,az says:

      Thank you Dara for your excellent expose' of Hotel Harry.You made my day.
      This article is certainly satire, and a bit witt for the bigger message.
      The spill over from NV's violent gangs and unenforced illegal population is totally ignored by everyone except AZ since they keep ending up here. .
      Sex offenders from NV and CA are the high on the list along with the endless NV based MS-13 gang running drugs , weapons, and people across the border areas.
      According to Harry, " NV has "no problem."
      Yes, NV is famous for lots of rocks:
      You described it perfectly;
      The "enhancement projects" is the" new age" description for the Reid/Pelosi/Obuma duality.
      Violent crime in Vegas is one of the highest in the entire USA.
      But Ya know what they say: "What goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas'
      Thank you my fellow America and Keep your head down.

    12. H Snyder says:

      It is incredible (almost) that one moment we hear of money frittered on "boulders" for our highways (!) then later we are told of collapsing bridges and disintegrating highways and no money to repair them. But when you mix big bucks with ambitious politicians, bureaucrats and money-grabbing "environmentalists," what else can you expect. Money attracts spenders like honey attracts flies……

    13. Gringo Infidel says:

      Bloody typical! Appropriating public money for stupid and wasteful projects.

      What &^%$# boondoggle this is.

      Fire the bums that put this through – there is no reasonable excuse for this behavior at all.

    14. Glenn says:

      The only way to stop or turn around the federal governments handouts is for the state and local governments to stop taking the money. The feds aren't supposed to be doing this anyway.
      We the people have to stop taking the money and sooner or later it will stop. Besides, most is spent on union labored projects anyway.

    15. Pydades says:

      May God have Mercy on Our Souls.

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