This should help give you an idea of just how broken the way we fund transportation in this country is: Paper Mills are looking to get about $8 billion in Federal transportation cash in 2009, according to the Nation, and the FTA will get $10.23 billion. International Paper alone will get close to $1 billion, twice as much Federal funding as Central Link’s total full funding grant award ($500 mn awarded over years) and a significant amount more than University Link’s full funding grant award ($813 million, also awarded over years). The money is technically a tax credit for using alternative fuels, but in this case the paper industry is adding fossil fuels to their natural bio-fuels but it’s still cash, and the cash did come from SAFETEA-LU, the last Federal Transportation bill.

We have a surprisingly low-quality government.

4 Replies to “Paper Mills Get $8bn in Federal Transpo Money”

  1. Funny. I wonder if this could turn into a WTO issue? If we start subsidizing our paper industry using *transportation*??? funds, it seems like paper producers overseas could get upset… Just a thought.

    I’d say this is a classic case of good intentions leading to unintended consequences. The article doesn’t lead me to believe somebody slipped this in while nobody was looking although that is certainly possible. Some accountant somewhere just got a little creative.

    Now, if we all write our Senators and Representatives and this doesn’t get fixed… Well then… THAT will be a sign of low-quality government.

  2. Low quality government? Hardly we have the best government money can buy. The problem is the people aren’t the ones doing the buying.

    1. I will say this time and time again,

      If you want government to respond you must PARTICIPATE. It doesn’t matter if you just give your opinion to your local city council once in a while or became a groupie like I did when I lived in Bothell during the time they were putting together their 20 year plan.

      It even gave me opportunities such as serving on the I-405 Corridor Program Citizens Committee.

      My metaphor for government participation is this:

      We’re all ants in a colony. When you see a group of ants carrying a big piece of food back to the nest, it might look like it’s all coordinated, but ants aren’t that smart. If you look closely, they’re all pulling and tugging in different directions, generally back towards the nest, but each ant is just pulling the food its way.

      If you aren’t one of those ants pulling, the goodies will go towards the part of the nest where YOU aren’t!

      Our problem, as a society, is that when things haven’t gone exactly our way, we’ve disconnected. We listen to people like Dori Monson and all the others who say “Gum’t is bad, get rid of them!”. Problem is, those ‘big ants’, the special interests, are still lobbying those in government.

      Get involved, learn the details, and realize that it won’t always go your way, every time.

      It sure didn’t when I was on the Citizens Committee, giving my opinion on rail, and in particular, the Woodinville Sub, but I sure learned a lot about the process, the costs, and the politics involved.

      And despite the politics, the Woodinville Sub is still a rail line. Getting it re-connected will still take work, but it wasn’t just thrown away as most people were expecting.

      Participate, and remember…

      Our government is US. (we? ‘The People’, you know what I mean!)

      Jim Cusick

Comments are closed.