Wasting Taxes – Giving A Free Car Would Have Been Cheaper

| January 3, 2011 | 0 Comments

I hate wasteful government spending… there’s nothing that riles me up more than elected officials wasting hard earned taxpayer dollars.  I’m surprised more Americans aren’t up in arms over this very topic.

I don’t think many taxpayers realize it’s YOUR money being spent.

I have an idea.  Every time a local government wants to spend money, make them collect it first.

That’s right.

Send the politician door to door asking for a few hundred dollars from each and every citizen.  I guarantee reckless government spending would come to a halt!

Despite the brutal economy, governments everywhere are still wasting money… and nowhere is that more noticeable then right here in the Phoenix area.

You want to know what’s got me all worked up?  It’s the recent light-rail project in Phoenix.

I’m all for public transportation.  It makes sense in cities like New York or San Francisco where ridership supports the system.  But here in Phoenix, it’s a giant waste of money.  I can’t believe the politicians supported this one… and still support it today.

The numbers are downright scary.

Consider this… 11.3 million riders hopped on this expensive new city toy. On the weekdays, that works out to about 41,000 people.  And METRO – the group operating light rail – were ecstatic!  The ridership numbers were well over projections.

So it’s a success, right?

Not so fast.

Despite the record ridership, the 2011 budget is forecast to have a huge gaping hole.  They’re estimating it costs $33.2 million a year to operate the system… Yet revenue tops out at a mere $9.1 million.  So the three cities in charge of light rail… Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe… need to cover the shortfall!

That’s $24.1 million down the drain because the revenues from fares don’t cover the costs.

Politicians wonder why so many citizens are fed up with government spending… a stupid project like this would have been scrapped by the private sector in about 20 seconds.  Instead, our city governments agreed to pay not only for the budget shortfall, but also for the construction costs.

If you want to see steam come out of my ears, consider this…

The light rail system so far has cost YOU as a taxpayer a whopping $1.4 BILLION.  That’s right… $1.4 billion.

Let me put this into perspective for you…

With a little back of the envelope math, you’ll find the city government spent $34,146 per rider to build the system!  As one astute blogger pointed out, you could have bought every one of those riders a new Toyota PRIUS and it would have saved money!  Who wouldn’t want a free car?

It’s government spending like this that makes me sick.

I haven’t ever used the light rail… and I probably never will.  It’s too far from where I live and work.  Yet my tax dollars are being spent on this ridiculous waste of money.  And before you dismiss this as a Phoenix problem… remember, the METRO system gets federal funding too.

So, you might live in Illinois, but your hard earned taxpayer dollars are being wasted right here in Arizona.

Why am I so worked up about this?

Because projects like these are going on all over the nation… and we need to put a stop to it.  We need a return to common sense when it comes to government spending.  Our nation, as great as it is, can’t handle the wild eyed politicians spending our money like there’s no tomorrow.

It’s a recipe for economic disaster and it does a great disservice to our citizens.

So keep your eyes peeled for big government waste in your area.  And, don’t be afraid to speak up about it.  Use your influence and help put a stop to this reckless behavior.

On a final note, before you start sending me hate mail about my opinion, consider this… both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for government waste… everyone needs to be accountable (from President Obama to Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon… and everyone in between).

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The Dynamic Wealth Report works with a number of staff writers and guest experts who specialize in everything from penny stocks to ETFs to options trading. These guest analysts post under the 'staff writer' moniker for ease of use.

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