Federal money for local projects

Federal money for local projects

June 21st, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

You might have read recently in the Times Free Press about a number of outdoor public works projects that are being undertaken in North Georgia.

They include things such as establishing a trailhead for hikers and horseback riders down in Walker County, as well as work on a Battlefield Parkway trail in Fort Oglethorpe and a greenway project in Dalton.

We imagine all these projects will beautify their communities and are worthwhile.

But do you really think it's appropriate that these local projects will be funded in large part by grants from the federal government - grants ranging from $225,000 to $500,000?

To put it another way, do you think it's fair that taxpayers in, say, Ohio or Louisiana or Colorado should have to pay for local projects - however worthy - in North Georgia?

Or look at it in reverse: Is it fair for taxpayers in North Georgia to have to pay for similar projects in faraway states?

We certainly do not begrudge North Georgians their enjoyment of attractive trails, greenways and such, any more than we oppose having pleasant amenities here in Chattanooga.

But funding such projects - there or here - simply isn't the job of our federal government, whose limited duties are spelled out in the Constitution of the United States.

Part of the reason our nation is staggering under the weight of massive federal debt today is that Washington finances so many things that it was never constitutionally intended to fund.

Lamentably, we sometimes tend to think that money from Washington for local projects is "free." It's not free.

That should be painfully obvious from a quick look at our $14.3 trillion national debt.

Local projects should be locally funded.