Your taxes at work: The truck stops here
Yes, truck stops are a vital industry in our gas-fueled society. And if they’re not serving the people they were meant to serve –the truckers –they could very well be creating a volatile economy tantamount to the subprime debacle now ravaging the nation. Just think of all those Big Macs rotting under blasting heat lamps; all those hand-dryers going unused; the miles of perfectly parkable pavement just laying there lonely, absent a semi or minivan to drip engine fluids on it.
But fear not, intrepid readers. The state Department of Transportation is coming to the rescue, the Daily Gazette reported last week. While New York’s pork-laden government is reeling from an estimated $5 billion budgetary deficit, the gear heads and specialists over at DOT were doling out $600,000 to see exactly what North American truckers think of the state’s truck stops.
Dubbed the “Truck Intercept Survey,” the study is a joint effort between DOT and the state Thruway Authority, which took time away from its busy schedule of toll hike hearings to participate. See, there’s apparently a shortage of truck stops along New York’s superhighways. The ones located about every 20 miles along the Thruway and I-87 are clearly not adequate.
“This can create problems because they are required to take rest breaks as well as a certain amount of time off duty as part of federal regulations,” said Kendra Adams, the acting president of the New York State Motor Truck Association, which naturally supports the initiative.
The answer? Pay more than half-million to a statistics company to interview truckers for two solid years. And the best part? The company conducting the survey is located in Texas, so these tax dollars are literally pumped from the region and piped down south.
Adams said the result of the study may be that New York needs more truck stops. Then maybe the state could give several massive development companies the hard-earned cash they need to pave over and contaminate 30-acre intervals of land along every state thoroughfare so that truckers can get their beauty sleep.
However, one can’t beat on DOT too much for their concept of spending. They’re simply following the lead of another bloated, nonsensical entity that sucks tax dollars like a porn star. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has spent three years dishing out cash to truckers across the nation. In fact, where DOT saw fit to spend $600,000, Homeland Security decided to up he ante and spend $63 million.
Only instead of surveying truck stops, the federal security czars are training truckers as counter-terrorist agents. Yes, you read that correctly: Counter-terrorist agents. The bulk of this fat went to conduct classes, create DVDs and set up a national call center so drivers who see something suspicious can call it into Homeland Security, The Daily News reported last month.
So let’s go to the score card. New York will soon have enough truck stops to keep its 18-wheeler interlopers well rested; the entire country will have truckers trained to spot terrorist while they’re jamming back Slim Jims on the freeway; and New Yorkers will have to sell their homes to fund it all. God bless America.
Editor’s note: Taking cue from the journalistic bastion known as The Saratogian, iSaratoga has embarked upon an “occasional series” investigating the many ways our state government in New York is using tax dollars to serve the needs of the people; all of them. And even a few things that aren’t people, much less things existing in the Empire State. If you have your own suggestion, please don’t hesitate to drop a line to iSaratoga’s tax and spend department.