Presti(dig)itation

Here’s how special interest project expenditures are presented by the media to U.S. taxpayers:

The Pacific Business News reported on the federal government’s $ 555 billion 2008 Omnibus Appropriations legislation last week and noted that it included approximately $ 41.3 million for the Port of Oakland’s Harbor Deepening project and the $ 8.2 million for annual dredging operations.

We’re told by the media that the funds go to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which is the federal agency responsible for the construction of the port’s Harbor Deepening Project. The dredging project, according to reports, will bring Oakland’s harbor to an overall depth of more than 50 feet.

At present the depths in the designated improvement areas are about 46 feet, the report said, and funding also includes the related projects of berth deepening and wharf strengthening. The Harbor Deepening Project in Oakland, the Pacific News stated, is seen as critical for handling more cargo from overseas.

In the same vein the American Shipper reported that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will also receive sizable amounts from the Fiscal Year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill:

“The Port of Los Angeles, in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers, recently completed a multi-year dredging and deepening project to deepen several of its secondary channels and turning basins. The new appropriations will provide the port with $ 3.3 million to dredge near the mouth of the Los Angeles river that flows into the northernmost end of the port’s East Basin Channel …”

“The Port of Long Beach will receive $ 4.5 million in new appropriations to dredge and widen its main channel, already one of the deepest in the United States at 76-feet.”

[All this money, you see, comes from the “federal government”. There is never any mention of the real source of the funding … the ripped-off U.S. taxpayer.]

But here’s how dredging is reported “Down Under” by Australia’s more forthright media:

“Taxpayers dig deep for port dredging …”

“The cost of dredging the Port Phillip Bay shipping channel has blown out to almost $ 1 billion, more than double the original estimate for the controversial project …”

“The anti-dredging group … warned the … taxpayer funded contribution would be just the start … It’s appalling the taxpayer has to pay”, the group says. But the Aussies, at least, are being told the score.

[And up in the U.S….Cui bono? Foreign shipbuilders, shipping lines, dredging firms, officials in ports and all along the supply chain, etc., etc. … everyone, in fact, but the ripped-off U.S. taxpayer.]