Since I have been tracking the use of Highway Trust Funds and where the funds are supposed to go I have never heard Congress or any other watch dog group ask the one big question: What did we spend all of the billions of funds on? The question has never come up nor has it ever been questioned as to what it was spent on.
I have found that the highway fund is raided for everything from Rails to Trails to remodeling of old buildings, whenever the elective representatives feel they need to show the electorate in their home state that they are bringing home the bacon. And our highway system takes a back seat and we end up with highways and bridges crumbling around us.
Our current highway system was started under President Eisenhower and most of the bridges were completed under President Clinton.
The last time the DOT did a survey on the condition of the highway system, they found that all of the bridges were considered substandard and need repairs or replaced and the highways were just being maintained and were outdated for the traffic flow they are handling.
If you look at the amounts of money that have been dumped into the Highway Trust Fund we should have the best infrastructure system in the world.
Now, when you ask this question to members of the transportation committee they side-step it and tell you that it was spent on highway projects. So you press harder, and they tell you that they are not certain were the money went.
So, you move over to the G.A.O. and they tell you they don't track were the funds went, and tell you they would have to do an audit, but it would have to be ordered by Congress.
This puts you into a circle that you will never get answers from.
So, once again the transportation committee is working on a new funding bill to start when MAP-21 expires this October. Once again the committee is working on a level of spending for our highway system that will not only keep the current level of repairs but also factor in new construction over the next five to six years. And once again you ask the committee members why they need more money when they should have the best highway system in the world with the amount of money that was allocated over the past years. They look at you like you're from another planet, and you ask the next question, will there be accountability of where the funds go this time, and will they be spent on our highways and bridges, and not every other project that might be used to keep some in office?
Now you can see the exercise in futility that I recently went through when I was in Washington, D.C., on business. It would seem to me that we need to account for the money that was spent over the past couple of decades before we give carte blanche to Congress once again. It's our money and we have the right to know what they spent it on. But when the people that we have elected have no idea where it went ,this to me sends up a red flag.
If I told the IRS that, yes, I spent the money, but I'm sorry I can't tell you what it was spent on, they would tax me accordingly and they would be wondering how long I would remain in business.
It's time "we the people" rain in the purse strings, and let our elected officials know we want accountability for the spending of our money.
Let them know that once you are elected you don't have carte blanche to do whatever you feel you can do.
We need you to be a steward of our country's funds.