Free lunch invite promises heartburn

GreenWheelBarrowCash

Apparently the criteria for mass transportation projects is no longer need, but opportunity. At least, that’s what one gathers from developments in the South Carolina Upstate.

From the Palmetto Insider blog:

The Greenville News writes breathlessly about the possibility of numerous Upstate communities being connected by a proposed regional “bus rapid transit” system if the Greenville Transit Authority is successful in capturing nearly $100 million in federal stimulus funds.

The grant would help create a regional bus rapid transit system that would connect cities and different locations like the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, ICAR, downtown Greenville, Easley and Clemson University, the paper reported Monday.

“There really is just a lot of potential in what we could do as a community,” said Matt Carter, chairman of the board of directors for the Greenville Transit Authority, told The News. “The money is there.”

What isn’t in the story is any kind of proof that there’s a need for such a system. There are no references to any feasibility studies, no indication of how many people would have to use the transit for it to break even or even any predictions on how many people might be expected to use the system.

In fact, it appears the Greenville County Authority is pursuing the stimulus funding for the same reason British mountaineer George Mallory gave when asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest: Because it’s there.

Mallory, of  course, died in his ill-fated quest to conquer Everest.

This sort of stimulus-related inanity is going on across the country. It’s as if a massive armored truck is spilling money out the back and everyone, or at least every municipality, is scrambling to get their “piece of the pie.”

Well, here’s news for you: Whenever a Brink’s truck loses a load of cash, the feds always come looking for the money, and this isn’t any different. One way or the other, we’re all going to end up being held responsible.

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