Dec 30, 2008
The Greed of Grants
Easton Mayor Sal Panto finally pulled his support of the Riverwalk Project, publicly admitting it was a useless project, yet he still wants to utilize the grant in a new location he deems less useless? Now instead of building a parking garage and Lanta terminal four blocks from the shopping district, he will duplicate Allentown, and build it only one block from the stores. Never mind there is no shortage of parking on Northampton Street, Sal can't stand the idea of losing a grant from the Joint River Bridge Authority. In Allentown we couldn't stand losing a grant from the Federal Transportation Department, never mind it destroyed the viability of the Hamilton Street merchants. Lanta officials and city officials in both cities talked of reducing congestion on the main streets, never mind that there was no congestion. Like a consumer with a coupon for something he doesn't need, our elected officials cannot comprehend that there are grants we would be better off not receiving. Greenwich, Connecticut, a beautiful community north of NYC, has a unusual community development policy; they do not accept HUD grants, not much future for bureaucrats there! The Hispanic business community on Allentown's 7th Street suffered a unnecessary disruption of parking and business this fall, as the city once again dug up the sidewalks to install new wiring for improved street lights, courtesy of a "grant". The merchants are rightfully wondering why the new lights ended up identical to the old ones. When grants are utilized, and at the end of the project there is no benefit, but on the contrary, unintended consequences, what's the point? We have become the victims of over planning, to use unnecessary grants, squandering our money, so our elected officials can blabber about progress.