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Friday, June 20, 2008

How many lobbyists does it take to drive a bus?

Mass transit is in trouble, we are told. Despite exposes of waste, legislators and the Governor feel we need to pump more money into transit systems (without reforming them), including tolling I-80 and raising Turnpike tolls and taxing drinks in Allegheny County.

Where will all the new money go? To hire lobbyists.

That's right, lobbyists to go to Harrisburg and ask for more money from taxpayers and toll payers.

The Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review both ran stories on the Port Authority of Allegheny County's plans to spend $400,000 on contracts with lobbyist firms. Eric Heyl has a good column on these lobbying contracts.

Why the need to use taxpayer funds to hire lobbyists? In case some think-tank suggest Pennsylvania follow the lead of the rest of the world and many US cities and states and competitively contract transit operations - increasing efficiency and reducing bloat and patronage.

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