by Eric M. Vest
Port Authority Power Grab
I just read the "A bold plan to fund new Brent Spence" article in the November 10, 2012 Kentucky Enquirer. They are promoting letting he Greater Cincinnati Development Authority and the Northern Kentucky Port Authority take over the responsibility for the Brent Spence Bridge replacement. Important parts of this article are:
"A preliminary idea would be to serve as one regional port on the bridge project, with the Cincinnati port playing the lead role. That could allow the port to raise money outside of political considerations to build and manage the bridge."
"The port's goal would be to use excess toll revenue, if available after debt service payments and maintenance costs, to fund other economic development projects in the region. Other regional authorities, such as the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which manages toll bridges and tunnels in New York City, do just that."
So basically the article argues for an unelected "independent authority" to be responsible for our most critical infrastructure, setting and collecting tolls in excess of what is needed to build the Bent Spence replacement to fund unelected port authority officials' pet projects. I wonder who will appoint these unelected officials, how they will be compensated, and who will evaluate their performance? There is a tremendous potential for corruption with this system. Also, I do not think we want a small version of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. "The Power Broker" is a Pulitzer Prize winning book on Robert Moses, an early Port Authority of New York & New Jersey leader. The author depicts "Moses as an unelected bureaucrat who, through his reputation for getting large construction projects done, amassed so much power over the years that the many elected officials whom he was supposedly responsive to instead became dependent on him."
Wikipedia describes Moses as:
"Moses was never elected to public office. He was responsible for the creation and leadership of numerous public authorities which he could control without having to answer to the general public or to elected officials. It is due to Moses that New York State has a greater proportion of public benefit corporations than any other US state, making them prime mode of infrastructure building and maintenance in New York, accounting for 90% of the state's debt. As head of various authorities, he controlled millions in income from his projects' revenue generation, such as tolls, and he had the power to issue bonds to borrow vast sums, allowing him to initiate new ventures with little or no approval from legislative bodies. This allowed him to bypass the usual power of the purse as it normally functioned in the United States, and the process of citizen comment on major public works.”
Editors Note: Port Authorities, Public Private Partnerships, Crony Capitalism--power corrupts.