When I sat down to write this on Thursday afternoon, I had just learned that the Ways and Means co-chairs made final decisions about the Department of Transportation budget. I’m voting “no.” Here’s why.
I’ve written before about the “Drive Less, Save More” program. Five years ago, the legislature directed federal dollars to an ad campaign to educate people about a common sense fact: if you drive less, you’ll save money.
I worked with the co-chairs of my subcommittee and de-funded the campaign, diverting the funds to a more important program: senior and disabled transportation. All that needed to happen was for the Ways and Means co-chairs to approve the subcommittee’s recommendations. Easy, right? Wrong.
The lobbying started. Those who had a financial interest in the program went to work trying to save it.
Excuse the sarcasm, but am I the only one who thinks that high gas prices might be convincing people to drive less?
Newspaper editorial boards around the state (including the Mail Tribune’s) came out against the program. I’ve received calls and emails expressing frustration that tax dollars are funding an advertising campaign about what should be common sense.
Unfortunately, the special interest lobbying worked and Drive Less, Save More will receive $1.5 million. Transportation services for the disabled and seniors will be reduced by $1 million. With all the cuts to services for the disabled and seniors, why would the co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee overrule the subcommittee?
When will we change how Salem does business?