Mmmm, Pork

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N.Z. Bear is enlisting the help of the blogosphere to round up the pork, state by state.

NEXT: Q: What Do These Blogs Have in Common?

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  1. I'd start a blog, but he didn't list anything in Ohio. We must not get any pork 🙁

  2. To put the pair of embarassing Alaska $300 million bridges in perspective, consider that when Seward bought Alaska for America in 1867, it cost the nation $7.2 million, which is about $91 million dollars in today's money when adjusted for inflation. Thus, the Federal government is spending 6 times more on this pair of bridges than it did on the entire territory itself. Would it be such a tragedy if we just spun off the 49th state?

  3. Planners are trying to develop a "light rail" system for the Triangle area of North Carolina a sprawling area with vitually no major downtown "destination" areas and in which public transportation is already heavily subsidized. A huge waste of money that cannot be justified by potential ridership or even by commuter demand. The money could be much better spent elsewhere.

    Well, its not light rail, its a proposed diesel commuter train service. It is a boondoggle however. Plus, TTA can't seem to run a competent bus service, so I'm incredulous about their ability to run a commuter train.

  4. Gosh, what a surprise! Reason writers and commenters slagging public transit subsidies without even mentioning the orders of magnitude more we spend subsidizing motor vehicle use.

  5. M1EK,

    Heh. Its what was listed for N.C. at the site. The triangle area has a bunch of pork-laden interestate, etc. construction as well.

    Also, since when are Alaskan bridges part of a public transit system?

  6. Most commuter rail systems are built in the suburbs. Where do you think the commuters are? The answer, of course, is sitting in stop and go traffic on the highways.

    M1EK, there are plenty of road "pork" projects on that list. But in the big picture, it is funny how *all* public transit spending ends up on libertarians' pork lists.

    When I checked in, Alaska had $616 million, Alabama had $300 something million, and Massachusetts had $7.4 million reported.

  7. "M1EK, there are plenty of road "pork" projects on that list. But in the big picture, it is funny how *all* public transit spending ends up on libertarians' pork lists."

    The interesting thing to me is that the comments on the bike/ped projects (and some of the transit projects) all fall into the "this is not critical national infrastructure" bucket.

    What's magical about a road that makes it critical? Most roads we build today are for suburbanites to commute faster to their jobs, and have nothing at all to do with national defense.

  8. Hak,

    "Plus, TTA can't seem to run a competent bus service, so I'm incredulous about their ability to run a commuter train."

    We hear this a lot in Austin too (although by many measures from the transit community, we do in fact run one of the better bus systems).

    You're damned if you do, damned if you don't. A bus system in a suburbanized area cannot possibly be viewed as "competent" unless it has dedicated right-of-way, at which point you might as well stick it on rails so you can lower your operating costs. Because "competent" to most people means "not dog-slow", and you'll NEVER get a transit system past "dog-slow" unless it can get around traffic jams. It has to be able to go FASTER than cars in spots to make up for the stops it has to make, and the indirect routing it has to take in order to pick up enough passengers to make it worthwhile.

  9. joe,

    Note that its an issue of self-reporting, therefore its not a remotely representative survey. In other words, your attempt to draw a distinction based on this information borders on the moronic.

    The answer, of course, is sitting in stop and go traffic on the highways.

    We don't have that in the triangle area.

  10. What's magical about a road that makes it critical? Most roads we build today are for suburbanites to commute faster to their jobs, and have nothing at all to do with national defense.

    Agreed...given further weight to the argument that most transportation spending done at the Federal level is unjustifiable, and thus is pork.

  11. M1EK,

    My wife takes the bus home from work every day. She often left stranded at bus terminals for over an hour because of late busses, etc. Indeed, she only arrives home "on time" one out of every ten times due to the screwed up nature of the bus system. The local paper just did a multi-day story on how crappy the local transit system is in the entire area.

    When I lived in Portland, Or., I took the bus frequently and I never had these sort of problems (and Tri-Met has to deal with all the crap that you talk about).

  12. I actually didn't draw a distinctin, Hak, and included the word "reported" in my statement.

    Hitting the sauce a little early today?

  13. joe,

    You most certainly made that distinction; why else make the comparisons, eh?

  14. joe,

    In other word's, what other possible statement could you be making than one trying to to trumpet some comparison between these three states?

  15. "You most certainly made that distinction; why else make the comparisons, eh?"

    To point out that the distinction is there, and encourage speculation about why it is there - underreporting? Less pork to blue states? Strict scruples among our Congressional delegation? Wise use of transportation funding? Other?

  16. It will be interesting to see what discrepancies remain after a few days.

  17. I guess Massachusetts got all its pork when it was building the "Big Dig." 🙂

  18. joe,

    You're only reinforcing my original point. You can't a question like "Less pork to blue states?" using this data. Again, stop being a moron.

  19. You can't answer a question...

  20. joe,

    Honestly, your claims are a bit like those who argue that those who call into talk shows accurately accurately represent American public opinion. 🙂

  21. That's a legit theory, too, Hak. I know McCain is ticked off about the overruns.

    You dropped your ve-erb. Neener neener neeeeenerrrrr!

  22. joe,

    The "Big Dig' is full of corruption, as should be expected from such a project.

  23. Hmmm, South Carolina not on the list.

    I guess we got ours with the new Cooper River Bridge. Needed? Probably. Federal project? Nope.

  24. Iron Chef,

    Well, with Dole in office, I am sure that North Carolina gets all sorts of pork.

  25. Ironchef~
    I've seen you post referencing SC in the past. Where ya from?

    Hakluyt~
    SC and NC are NOT the same state!

  26. Heather,

    No shit. You do realize that my first post concerned N.C., right? You know, given that I live there now. 🙂

  27. Hak,

    Portland has a comprehensive light rail system which makes the buses run better, and a highly intrusive parking scheme downtown which makes the buses run better too. Once a ton of middle-class workers use your transit system, you can afford to run your buses more often and in more of your service area. RTP, like most Sunbelt cities, does not qualify (yet).

    Portland's probably the least applicable example you can use of "bus system run in suburbanized area", since they grabbed the golden new urban ticket a long time ago.

  28. M1EK,

    I was riding the bus before lightrail came into being, before fareless square, etc.

    The TTA is run by a bunch of buffoons and one should expect similar results from an unwanted commuter train (yeah, that's right, local area surveys state that the majority of the population doesn't want the damn thing).

  29. M1EK,

    Oh, and I park in downtown Portland easily and cheaply. There are lots of reasonably priced parking garages, etc. for one day trips (indeed, many of them are "free" upon purchase of an item say in Meier & Frank or Nordstrom downtown) or for the daily commute.

  30. Hakluyt, the fact that you would consider paying anything at all to park, and that you would define parking in a garage as "quickly and easily" singles you out from 99% of suburbanites in this country.

  31. M1EK,

    Most of Tri-Met's buses run in the suburbs and the Max train isn't particularly convenient to the vast majority of passengers.

  32. joe,

    Nearly all of the suburbanites in Portland drive to the downtown stores if they are going to shop there. Of course Portland is kind of unique in having a fairly well accessible downtown area that isn't constantly clogged with traffic like shitpiles like Boston.

    Given that for the past four years I've lived in the woods of New England forty-five minutes from the nearest town with a population over 30,000, its hard to call me a suburbanite.

  33. joe,

    I mean honestly, why the fuck would want to take transit from Gresham or Forest Grove or even up on Sylvan hill to go shopping downtown when you can get free parking at Meier & Frank or at any of the other major downtown shopping venues?

  34. joe's a typical Boston Brahmin; that is totally myopic in his views.

  35. Not only do I drive a limosine, but now I'm a WASP, too.

    Can you give me a boat next?

    As for the eagerness to pay for parking among suburbanites, I think the term you're looking for is "solipsism."

    Really, good for you, but that makes you an unusual bird.

  36. Uh oh. They just added up a $1 milliong grant to one college, and $150,000 to another. For some reason, the pork busters website has decided that the sum of these figures is $115,000,000.

    So, added to the $7 million from this morning, that's a total of $122 million dollars.

    heh.

  37. Hak,

    "The TTA is run by a bunch of buffoons and one should expect similar results from an unwanted commuter train (yeah, that's right, local area surveys state that the majority of the population doesn't want the damn thing)."

    Again, the point is that you simply cannot run a bus system which suburbanites think is well-run without some combination of:

    1. dedicated right-of-way (to improve speed and make up for the unavoidable deficit in speed a bus will have compared to the car on the same route)

    2. parking restrictions downtown which draw passengers to the bus (either expensive or insufficient parking).

    This is not a topic on which you want to engage me if you want to win.

  38. joe,

    Boston Brahmin's don't have to be WASPs anymore (indeed, quite a number of them have been Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Swedenborgians, etc. since the term became less wedded to old-family Protestant types); it refers more to a person of privilege like yourself.

    As for the eagerness to pay for parking among suburbanites...

    Well, again, you generally don't have to pay to park in downtown Portland if you don't want to. Note I continue to discuss Portland area residents whereas as you continue to discuss suburbanites. Somehow you just aren't getting it. I mean really, just how fucking stupid are you joe?

  39. M1EK,

    In other words, you need to force people to ride the bus. Thanks for clarifying.

  40. "Of course Portland is kind of unique in having a fairly well accessible downtown area that isn't constantly clogged with traffic like shitpiles like Boston."

    And Portland's downtown didn't get that way by accident. Boston didn't have to bother doing anything to make it hard to park or drive downtown; it was built before the car. Portland did it ON PURPOSE - most cities of Portland's vintage are oversupplied with free downtown parking thanks to post-WWII zoning code; Portland chose to go the other way and institute MAXIMUM parking per building, which provides an automatic incentive to take the bus or train in, which means that if you DO drive (and are willing to pay to park), your way in probably won't be clogged.

    Once again: Portland is NOT the model to compare to here unless you're willing to institute the things that got them from Point A to Point B. EVERY OTHER SUNBELT CITY has "crappy" bus systems, because it is IMPOSSIBLE to run a "good" bus system without expensive downtown parking. Period. Either you end up spending a ton of money running buses often enough so that your wife doesn't have to wait an hour for the next one, or you run infrequent buses for the poor folks. Pick A or B; either way the suburbanites will call your system 'crappy'.

    The ONLY way to get to "C", i.e., running buses frequently that have enough people on them to keep your farebox recovery ratio up decently high is to do what Portland had to do on purpose and Boston did by being born early enough - DON'T HAVE A GLUT OF FREE OR CHEAP PARKING DOWNTOWN.

  41. "In other words, you need to force people to ride the bus."

    In most cities, you do, because buses inherently suck. You DON'T have to force people to ride trains, which is why cities that want good transit systems should build trains and not listen to idiots like you who claim that they shouldn't be trusted to run trains because their bus system sucks.

    ALL bus systems suck, except in cities which 'force' people to ride them, either on purpose (like Portland did by forcing 'low' maximum amounts of parking) or by history (like New York, Boston, etc.)

  42. M1EK,

    There is lots of parking downtown that is either free or relatively cheap. Shit, the downtown area (where fareless square is) is littered with shopping garages for department stores, the mall, etc.

  43. "Well, again, you generally don't have to pay to park in downtown Portland if you don't want to."

    Unless you are defining "if you don't want to" as "park somewhere further out and ride a bus or train the rest of the way", or you are defining it as "for a weekend trip", I'm calling bullshit.

  44. M1EK,

    You DON'T have to force people to ride trains...

    Then why has Max ridership never, ever reached the level that was promised when they were building the damn thing?

  45. M1EK,

    I can take my car, drive downtown, park in Meier & Frank's parking garage, and get a free daylong parking pass. The downtown mall does the same thing. I can do the same thing at Powell's Bookstore as well. I've done this dozens of times.

  46. M1EK,

    And that doesn't even bring into account programs like smartpark, which encourage downtown parking by giving you X hours of free parking for purchases at hundreds of business in the downtown area.

  47. M1EK,

    But in the big picture, it is funny how *any* criticism of government bureucracy is viewed as an existential threat by liberals.

  48. I'm about as stupid as I am rich and Barhmin, cocksucker. And, no, the term is still used to refer to the old WASP elites, to distinguish them from the rest of upper class.

    Still smarting over the multiple whuppings I gave you this weekend, I see.

    "...constantly clogged with traffic like shitpiles like Boston." Yes, the fact that it's such a shitpile explains the traffic congestion. Nobody goes there - it's too crowded. Sharp as a bag of hammers, aren't you?

  49. joe, didn't you once say that you're trying to work up the nerve to go into a liberal Protestant church?

    See, you're an aspiring WASP! A larva, if you will.

  50. Hak,

    "Then why has Max ridership never, ever reached the level that was promised when they were building the damn thing?"

    I call double bullshit. Try again.

  51. I couldn't help but notice this remark:

    The interesting thing to me is that the comments on the bike/ped projects (and some of the transit projects) all fall into the "this is not critical national infrastructure" bucket.

    What's magical about a road that makes it critical?

    An excellent question. Something about stopped clocks with cuckoos that screech "Liar!" probably applies.

  52. I posted links showing that Hak was full of it on the Portland ridership info, and got funneled to a page indicating that my comment was sent in for moderation.

    This better not have disappeared...

  53. I lived in Hillsboro for five months earlier this year...I didn't work in downtown Portland, so I guess I didn't really care about the rush hour traffic, but as soon as I had my car, I never took public transport again. Why sit with a bunch of drunk bums for 45 minutes when I'm downtown in 20 and get good parking almost anywhere for free or for very cheap? Concerts, ballgames, resteraunts, I never really had a problem. I'm pretty sure Hak is right that the Max never did produce the kind of numbers they were promising. They system wasn't that bad, all considered but highway 26 is going to have get even worse for mass transit to start looking good to most people there.

  54. M1EK, have you ever looked in the archives for really old threads?

    There are sometimes pages of p0rn links, b@ldness links, and pen1s extender links tacked on the end.

    I'm confident your comment will appear.

  55. M1EK: I posted links showing that Hak was full of it on the Portland ridership info, and got funneled to a page indicating that my comment was sent in for moderation.

    This better not have disappeared...

    joe: I'm confident your comment will appear.

    I hate to say it, but I'm not so confident. On Friday, in the "borrow your black masks" thread, I posted a link-laden comment about Somalia that never showed up. I think a similar thing happened to a post by smacky in the "Right Man's Burden" thread.

  56. I just test-posted a message with about eight links in it. Let's see if it ever shows up.

  57. "I'm pretty sure Hak is right that the Max never did produce the kind of numbers they were promising. "

    No, he's wrong. They're at 97,000 "rides" per day in 2004 (probably about half that in "people") and the original predictions, according to Reason in 1996, were 42,500 people per day.

  58. OK, let's try just ONE link; maybe it'll go through this way.

    http://www.cfte.org/critics/what.asp

    "When Portland's MAX system opened in 1998, critics argued the 2005 ridership projections were overly optimistic. MAX surpassed it's 2005 projections by its second anniversary, carrying 71,000 riders per day."

    (presumably the opening date is a typo and should read "1988").

  59. http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_newslog002.htm#POR_20050104

    "In weekday ridership, the MAX LRT system ? overall, the transit system's star performer since its installation in 1986 ? continued to register impressive gains, increasing by another 20 percent, to an average of 96,000 rider-trips each weekday. This increase included the new ridership on the Yellow Line, which opened in May of last year."

  60. "In other words, you need to force people to ride the bus."

    If the government fails to provide subsidized parking and add lanes to the road system, that's "forcing people to take public transit."

    If the government fails to provide rail transit and safe pedestrian routes, that's "freeing people" and "respecting the market."

  61. joe,

    And, no, the term is still used to refer to the old WASP elites, to distinguish them from the rest of upper class.

    Hmmm, it was used frequently to describe John Kerry and Michael Dukakis. So you are wrong there.

    Still smarting over the multiple whuppings I gave you this weekend, I see.

    In your wettest of dreams.

    M1EK,

    In other words, you aren't differentiating between the original line's predicted ridership and the current ridership on the two more newly created lines and the first line. On the original line Tri-Met in 1979 (I recall the prediction because it was on T.V. at the time) predicted over 90,000 riders per day. It was also only supposed to cost ~$175 million; its real cost is over a billion dollars now.

    One of the reason for the expense was stupid decisions like expanding the line to Hillsboro and digging two tunnels so it could got to the Zoo. Neither of these destinations require a light-rail to them because the density of ridership is pretty damn low. Of course since isn't the money of the scumbag bureaucrats at Tri-Met's money they can spend it freely.

    mtc,

    Tri-Met puts out a bunch of B.S. propaganda that fools like joe and M1EK eat up. Light-rail ridership in Portland hasn't even kept up with the rate of growth in the Portland metro area; most of the ridership is indeed in non-peak hours; even during rush hour the trains are not packed; the trains are slow as hell (taking forty-five minutes to go fifteen miles); etc. Light-rail had one advantage over other alterantives; it was more expensive. With the Federal government footing 3/4 of the bill that is music to government bureaucrats' ears.

  62. joe,

    I'd perfer a privatized road system myself. Dipshits like yourself oppose such however.

  63. "On the original line Tri-Met in 1979 (I recall the prediction because it was on T.V. at the time) predicted over 90,000 riders per day."

    Cite.

    Seriously.

    I've done a hell of a lot of work digging up links only to have you keep moving the goalposts. If you want one more lousy comment, go prove this one. It's clear to me that you have an axe to grind against mass transit - so I no longer trust your assertions.

  64. "Hmmm, it was used frequently to describe John Kerry" you mean the one whose mother's family were Forbeses? "...and Michael Dukakis." Um, no. You should really just let this one go.

    "Privatized roads." La dee da dee da. And I want a pony.

    Tell you what, right after the perpetual motion machine.

  65. joe,

    Kerry is a Catholic (indeed, he was raised one). You appear to be arguing that given his family background (the Forbes family) he is a Boston Brahmin, yet his grandfather was a Jewish immigrant. You really can't have it both ways dude. If he is indeed a Boston Brahmin (which you seem to readily admit), he's a Catholic one with Jewish heritage, which merely demonstrates my point.

    Tell you what, right after the perpetual motion machine.

    The point was that you were trying to argue that I am inconsistent, when indeed I'm not. Nice - and quite typical - joe ducking manuevre on your part. When you can't argue a point you change the subject.

    M1EK,

    I haven't moved the goalposts at all. Indeed, you're the one that keeps on changing the subject.

    Heh, I'd think anyone would have a problem with a monopolistic government transit authority which built for a hundred million dollars two tunnels to the Portland zoo that allow trains to run a hundred people to the zoo and back on a daily basis. I mean honestly, if the only counter you have to my comments is to get all pissy over what Tri-Met's predictions were (and its predictions changed significantly over time) regarding ridership (a ridership level that has not kept up with population growth and has never attracted the sort of middle class masses that Tri-Met claimed would flock to light-rail), then you've already lost the conversation.

  66. M1EK,

    What has kept up with population growth in Portland are expansions of such roads as the Banfield, which carries twice the number of cars on it than it did ten years ago (100k to 200k approximately). Tri-met has never been successful in getting even a significant minority of the middle class to ride their trains.

  67. M1EK,

    From 1990 to 2000, despite a substantial increase in service, transit?s overall market share increased barely 10 percent, estimated at from 1.9 percent to 2.1 percent. At this rate, by Metro?s magic 2040 Plan date, transit?s market share could be struggling over 3.0 percent, hardly the stuff of paradigm shift.

    http://www.demographia.com/db-planetcrit200207.htm

    Lots of helpful links on that site as well.

  68. So the point is that even if Tri-Met has met its predictions (which it hasn't), do those predicted ridership rates actually justify Max? No.

  69. Original article by the same author:

    Recent developments in Portland and Oregon suggest that smart growth is having only a modest effect, while driving down housing affordability, increasing traffic congestion and losing popularity in neighborhoods.

    http://www.planetizen.com/node/57

  70. "You appear to be arguing that given his family background (the Forbes family) he is a Boston Brahmin, yet his grandfather was a Jewish immigrant. You really can't have it both ways dude."

    Are you having some sort of odd browser issue, that causes the phrase "mother's side" not to appear?

    "When you can't argue a point you change the subject." This from the guy who called me a "Boston Brahmin," then entered into a disertation on the term's changing meaning, because he didn't want to keep arguing that suburbanites are happy to drive into city.

  71. "I mean honestly, if the only counter you have to my comments is to get all pissy over what Tri-Met's predictions were..."

    YOU brought up the projections, Hak. M1EK seemed more triumphalist than pissy when he proved you wrong.

    And YOU raised the issue of whether the system met it ridership projections as a measure of its success.

    I think thisis what M1EK meant by "moving the goalposts."

  72. joe,

    The point is that Kerry is not a WASP, whatever can be said about his family, and yet he is considered a Boston Brahmin. You maintain that Boston Brahmin's must be WASPs. You figure it out. 🙂

    ...because he didn't want to keep arguing that suburbanites are happy to drive into city.

    I never made any arguments about "suburbanites" and you know it. I did talk about folks in the Portland though (you then conflated that into a claim that I was making a general argument about suburbanites, which clearly isn't the case). I believe I've already pointed this out to you, but for someone reason you continue to ignore this point.

    M1EK seemed more triumphalist than pissy when he proved you wrong.

    He never proved me wrong of course, since the figures he uses include all three Max lines, whereas my statement concerned the original Max line (you know shit about Portland, so I can see how could be confused). Basically the current ridership on three Max lines is at the level they expected for the original Max line. Its a boondoggle.

  73. "whereas my statement concerned the original Max line"

    MOVING THE GOALPOSTS.

    If I could find information on the ridership of just the original MAX line, I'd do it. Why haven't you, if you're so confident? Hell, how many links have you provided here? 0? ZERO? SQUAT? ONE LESS THAN ONE?

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