Thursday, January 22, 2009

Make-work Projects in Beaumont

Yesterday I predicted that much of the so-called stimulus package would be make-work projects that don't really improve infrastructure. Today, the local radio station reported that Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames has been in Washington lobbying for her projects. Here's the list:

Amtrack train stop - $750,000
Block grant reinvestment zone housing - $5 Million
Landfill hydrogen project - $5 Million
Public Safety Headquarters - $272,000
Bus stop rehabilitaion - $1 Million

The current Amtrack station in Beaumont is a slab, because it gets no passengers. It's near my office, and I see the train stop there when it does in the afternoon. They could triple their ridership and still not get passengers on every stop. But it has nothing to do with new riders. The
mayor's justification was, "We want to move it to a nicer area so when the train stops in Beaumont, the passengers get a better view." She has called this her highest priority for stimulus money.

I have no clue whether housing block grants are needed, but it seems that every city asks for them every time Federal money is offered.

The landfill hydrogen project is a cool project. They reform the methane as it comes off the landfill and sell the hydrogen to local refineries. This project is already funded and will go forward without Federal funds. They're just asking for Federal dollars because they might be available.

I don't know anything about the Public Safety Headquarters. From the amount of the funds request, I think they're going to build a house for the Police Chief.

Bus stop rehabilitation is the only project of the bunch that is a good idea and not currently being progressed. Most Beaumont bus stops are just benches, and I often see people waiting for the bus out in the pouring rain. I'm really skeptical about the amount of economic stimulus it will

No comments: