3 thoughts on “The Set-Aside Boondoggle”

  1. Another issue that is implied here is that federal funding typically gets used for building new infrastructure, but not for maintenance and repair of older infrastructure.

    For example, I witnessed carping about the possible ending of high speed rail projects in Wisconsin and Ohio. The reasoning seems to be that because the federal government is currently paying the cost, then there’s no downside and those states are merely hurting themselves by dropping the rail projects. The argument ignores substantial liabilities, namely, that these states would be on the hook for maintenance, cost overruns, or covering the fed portion, if the federal government bails out of the project.

  2. Karl,
    here in central NC they’ve been pushing light rail for years. The original reason was JUST to eliminate some of the commuter traffic. Then it was to eliminate said traffic because of global warming. But after we lost several of our big employers here, even before the current down turn, they changed the light rail marketing again. NOW the reason is to entice companies / employees of companies to come here, BECAUSE we have light rail. And as you said, it gets built with beauoup federal funding.

    But WE get the upkeep, construction over runs, not to mention the difference in daily operating costs verses what the trains take in.

    And naturally, everyone gets to apply for a job working for the light rail authority. The fact that NONE of our current residents have any related train experience seems to evade many locals.

    But right in the paperwork, over and over, is the promise of those minority construction contracts. Define promise though.

    I expect we have fewer minority construction companies with RAIL building experience than we have in general with people working for a rail company.

    (personally I think light rail is a crock of bull for us here. most of our newcomers are FROM high density areas WITH subways and commuter trains. they moved here to get out of trains. but even when they tell the light rail promoters that very fact, the pro-rail for any reason crowd don’t listen)

  3. Might as well include Davis-Bacon in that article. There are probably just as many, if not more, employees across the country whose sole duty is to verify Davis-Bacon compliance, never mind the set-aside compliance people.

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