Highway Spending

I'm torn.

While I understand the need to continually improve and extend infrastructure that's strained to its limits, the latest Federal highway spending bill of 286.4 billion dollars seems like good money chasing after bad. What the heck could cost so much?

Today's Wall Street Journal indicates that there is indeed a lot of pork in this latest bill, despite what I'm looking for is relief of the massive traffic problems between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. I drive through there to go to work, and it's miserable because so many people who used to live in Portland have escaped to the tax-friendlier city across the Columbia.

I live north of Vancouver and work west of Portland. The bridge is the choke point. I spent two hours driving 38 miles last home last night. The commute home has been getting progressively worse.

As a result I have been investing in working from home. While that's pretty much impossible for a manager, my latest duties at IBM make it a reality. I have a T1 going in, since I can't get DSL or broadband cable out where I'm at, I just got a PolyCom Soundstation2, which I call the “Klingon War Phone” but is really just the absolute best speakerphone you can have for frequent meetings. When the T1 goes live, I'll be using Vonage to handle my calling around instead of my local POTS (plain old telephone service).

Include in this package is that I no longer have to send 9% of my income to Oregon (a state which seems to be rapidly imploding). On the radio last night they indicated that several thousand people had moved from Portland to Vancouver in the past year, primarily because of its local income tax, on top of Oregon's. Portland is now the third most expensive United States town to live in.

What's my point? I wonder if the government should instead be looking at how to juice the services that are making it easier for people to work from home, or from anywhere, rather than investing so much in what could be yesterday's technology. Clearly the pork virus has infested this latest bill, and the President does not appear to have been holding this Congress to any kind of spending limitations.

I'm tired of traffic and low choice about working in tax hells. Enable me to work from anywhere (in this country, that is, it's easy to work here from India already, thanks) and we can reduce congestion and pollution, thank you very much.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted Friday, Jul 29 2005 08:27 AM

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