Never Go Full Rodricks
Rodricks took to the Sun to accuse Governor Hogan and anti-gas tax legislators of hypocrisy for promoting road construction projects in areas whose legislators were opposed to the tax.
Here’s what I’d like to see, and I know many readers will join me in the wish: a Maryland elected official who stands on principle and refuses to be a hypocrite. That would make my day. How about yours?
Surely there must be one principled person among the 83 state senators and delegates, Republican and Democrat, who opposed raising the gasoline tax in 2013 and who won re-election in 2014 by decrying it. Surely there must be one man or woman among those 83 who will refuse to remain silent while the Republican governor unloads millions of dollars from that tax on new road projects.
Of course, Rodricks, as he is wont to do, completely missed the point of these road projects. These road projects are not new, nor are they unnecessary. These are projects that were neglected by Martin O’Malley and the Democrats running the Transportation Department. While O’Malley and the Democrats focused on a transit first transportation system, they failed to expand our road network, plan for infrastructure replacement, and work to make sure that the our roads and bridges were safe. They also had the moxie to, while knowingly neglecting our highways, raise the gas tax to pour even more money into underused, unprofitable, and unneeded mass transit projects.
It’s not just a slight against anti-tax legislators. Rodricks usual regional bias comes into play as well:
Even roads of highly dubious economic benefit, like the $90 million realignment of U.S. 219 north, between the Interstate 68 interchange and the Pennsylvania line. While a big chunk of that particular outlay is federal money, the realignment appears to be the kind of project a waste-sniffing Republican like Hogan would question, not embrace.
In an area as economically challenged as Garrett County, and an area that has been criminally neglected by Annapolis for years, the US 219 project is of actual use and benefit to the citizens of Garrett County. US 219 is a major thoroughfare, and the only major north-south highway across Garrett County. A safer, faster road to bring goods, business, and tourists into Garrett County from Pennsylvania
As usual, it’s less about making a point and more about Rodricks highlighting his bias against people from outside the Beltway.
If Rodricks wants to look for hypocrisy, he should certainly look in a mirror because in his piece here he makes a point about the cancellation of the Red Line in Baltimore which is interesting:
We spent millions of dollars and burned hundreds of thousands of hours developing the Red Line project over the last decade-plus. Officials of two administrations negotiated for the funds — federal, state and local — that would make it possible. The state seemed poised to lift the Baltimore region into the 21st century with a transformative transit system. Then, in a sweeping change, a new governor erases the project — at one of the worst times in the city’s history — and throws the savings to other areas of the state, topping off the tank with more money from a gasoline tax most of those areas opposed.
There are more than a few problems with his point:
- The Red Line was not going to be “transformative.” It was going to be expensive.
- The gas tax money is going to now fund projects used by gas tax consumers; and,
- The Gas Tax money that was going to Red Line development was a complete and total subsidy of the Red Line by the supermajority of Marylanders who would never use the Red Line.
Rodricks biggest gripe is that Mass Transit riders won’t get to freeeload as much on the backs of gas tax consumers.
Dan Rodricks sure likes to play the fool, and again he shows that I have forgotten more about transportation policy than he’s ever known.