A local news item caught my attention yesterday, on San Francisco’s CBS5 television station. It concerned the city’s municipal transport system, or ‘Muni’.
While the transport organization rumbles on with a $21 million deficit, new ticket kiosks are being built at two locations. Looks like possibly a good idea at first glance. Sell more tickets, more passengers, more fares, more income to cut the deficit.
These are not the common or garden type kiosks though. The sort that look like either a burger trailer or Uncle Henry’s shed. They are state-of-the-art contraptions, constructed of stainless steel with bullet proof glass. The cost for the pair… $829,000!
Has the Muni gone loony? Well, perhaps not. You see, it’s not their money that they used to purchase these hi-tech boutique des billets. Neither is it funded from the city coffers… if there are any left, that is. It’s another wonderful investment, courtesy of the federal stimulus program. In other words, you bought them.
The terms of the grant insisted that Muni build new structures (with all the expensive bureaucratic procedures associated with anything ‘new’ in San Francisco), rather than perhaps ‘stimulating’ an existing empty office or retail unit, of which there are plenty.
This is just one of the ludicrous earmarks that are hitting every American in the pocket. The ‘use it or lose it’ excuse doesn’t vindicate the recipients of these giveaways, either.
While businesses and individuals are trying to make ends meet, don’t they feel any shame at using taxpayers’ money for projects that would still be highly questionable if it was their own money during an economic boom? Perhaps not.
(Editor Dee is in for Skip today)