Sunday, March 15, 2009

Walker, Buses, Federal Funds And Contradictions

Scott Walker, Milwaukee's County Executive and leading local opponent of stimulus funds - - none for him/us if there are strings or recurring expenses attached - - will be getting $36 million he says will go for new buses from a Congressionally-mandated 17-year-old earmark he had nothing to with securing.

Walker is upset that he was cut of the deal that divided the earmark 60-40 in favor of the City of Milwaukee, which will use its share for a downtown trolley system.

Had Walker accepted an earlier offer, he'd have had $9 million more, but here is the real question: how can Walker, with a straight face, complain about the way the money was divided - - his bus system will get $36 million for new equipment - - if he believes that stimulus funds should be rejected because they come with continuing cost obligations?

So do the federal funds he will take for the buses.

Operations. Maintenance. Driver salaries. Fuel. All require local or state dollars.

Walker wants to have it both - - no, several - - ways:

He wants to posture on the stimulus funds to please the hard, anti-Obama right.

Secondly, he wants to take funds from the same source - - the federal treasury - - though accepting them violates the principles (sic) he invoked against the stimulus.

And third, he continues to criticize initiatives and services in Milwaukee - - the city - - while representing (harming) the same citizens as Milwaukee County taxpayers.

Strip out the spin and qualifiers and adjectives he loaded into his explanation of good federal dollars/bad federal dollars to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel a few weeks ago, and the contradictions become more than apparent.

Walker's defenders in the media are full of outrage and sarcasm - - but the delays in allocating and using the funds has been Walker's doing, and goal.

Walker;s stance and dance are beyond hypocrisy: to be consistent, Walker should return the bus funding, and Congress can rewrite the earmark (the funds have languished for 17 years) to direct the rest to the city for its trolley construction - - expanding its routes to capture UW-Milwaukee, Menomonee Valley, Third Ward/Fifth Ward and lakefront riders, for example.

Being true to his principles (sic) would be Walker's biggest contribution to the local economy after all.


Anonymous said...

I was wondering if anyone would notice this issue that is now facing Walker. Not only are there ongoing costs but there is a small local match that is required to get the funds, so I'm curious if Walker will do anything with the money at all or reject it on "principal."

James Rowen said...

Though Walker thinks he is Milwaukee's "principal," his rejection is on grounds he calls principle, and what I call "principle (sic)," not 'sick," but which also fits.

That's the end of today's grammar lesson. Continue with your blogging and commenting...