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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 ISSUE #375

Highway bill and oil prices make airlines a bargain

# 375, August 10, 2005

COLUMBUS: Last week President Bush signed the Energy Bill, and oil shot up to $65 a barrel. This week he signed the Highway Bill for $286 Billion and people are asking what's the use of building highways if you can't afford to drive on 'em.

Even if we stop driving, you know who's gonna to do the paying. Plus gratuity. Of the $286 Billion about $25 Billion is earmarked for the sole purpose of re-electing your Congressman, making 2006 the most expensive election campaign in history. Of the remainder a small portion is, in fact, set aside to build and improve our highways.

Alaska's lone Congressman wrangled $230 million for a bridge. It's gonna be named Don Young's Way. Now here's a sneak peek into Don Young's Way of getting re-elected: he told Alaska, if you keep voting for me, next time I'll get an even bigger and better appropriation, and we'll build a road to the bridge. At both ends. And if that's successful, and I eventually worm my way into the Senate, I'll get the Army Corps of Engineers to construct a river under the bridge. If that works, we'll bring in some water. Naturally we'll need an enormous heating system for it. Otherwise it would be froze solid nine months of the year, and we can't allow that. See, people would just drive across the river for free, with no apparent need for a bridge or a $230 million appropriation. And no apparent need for a Congressman Young.

Now this is not just Young's way, most of them operate under the same system. In West Virginia a Congressman got $16 million for an "Appalachian Transportation Institute". What Appalachia needs is not another institution; what they need is $16 million for asphalt.

Arkansas gets $3 million for "dust control mitigation" on rural roads. These Arkansas rural folks, just like the ones in West Virginia, know the real way to mitigate your dust is a layer of asphalt.

California's Ronald Reagan Freeway is to get $2 million for flowers. If it was up to Mr. Reagan, don't you think he would have called up a few dozen garden clubs and asked them to volunteer a couple of weekends a year to plant flower seeds along the road? Then he would send the $2 million back to the ones that paid it.

New York is to get half a million to fix up a warehouse on the Erie Canal. It seems today's trains and airplanes are just too slow for New York's shipping and storage needs.

Louisiana got a nice increase, but not as much as Huey Long could have wrung out of 'em.

In the past month or so I've been traveling quite a bit. I made four round trips on Northwest and Delta. Now that ain't much travel for some of you, but I want you to know that all the flights were on time, no problems, and my luggage arrived at the same time I did. More good news, even the Space Shuttle had a perfect landing.

Delta Airlines is suffering a loss of capitalization, and I'm surprised some Georgia Congressman didn't request an appropriation of a few million dollars so he could just buy the whole thing, lock, stock and 747's. Delta's gotta be worth more than a bridge.

They just caught those two Tennessee fugitives in a motel here in Columbus. Who says you've got to leave Ohio to find excitement.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

"We cuss (Congress) and we joke about 'em, but they are all good fellows at heart; and if they wasent in that, why, they would be doing something else against us that might be worse." Saturday Evening Post, July 24, 1926

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