Northwest Arkansas Blogging: More Welfare for Wal-Mart
BENTONVILLE, Ark. - The U.S. House has approved a federal highway bill that includes $37 million for widening and extending the Bentonville street that provides the main access to the headquarters of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.For most of living memory, the central function of "our" elected representatives in northwest Arkansas has been to secure lots and lots of highway and airport pork for local corporate interests. For years, Third District Congressman John Paul Hammerschidt pursued federal highway funds with a single-mindedness that made Al "Senator Pothole" D'Amato look like a piker. I've written before in this blog about the Northwest Arkansas Council's (aka Cockroach Caucus) role in lying and manipulating its way into a taxpayer-funded regional airport. As long as I can remember, "our" local government has been a corrupt good ol' boy club serving the interests of Tyson, Wal-Mart, J.B. Hunt, and Jim Lindsey.
The company says it asked U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark., to help get federal money for the proposed project. U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, added an amendment that put the work into the $284 billion bill, which is now before the Senate.
Wal-Mart spokesman Jay Allen said the company wants Eighth Street improved so the 10,000 workers at company headquarters will have an easier time getting to their jobs. In the time Wal-Mart’s headquarters has been at the site, the company has grown at a much greater rate than the street has been improved. Wal-Mart, as measured by sales, is the world’s largest company. Wal-Mart has 20,000 employees in the Bentonville area; about half of them work at the company’s headquarters.
“We have people living all over the area,” Allen said. “Infrastructure in northwest Arkansas is a big issue for us. This would represent another east-west corridor connected to the interstate, which would benefit everybody.”
The money in the transportation bill would widen the street and pay for connecting it to Interstate 540.
Nice to know those public-spirited citizens are still tirelessly pursuing the "public interest" (while lining their own pockets, of course).
What a bunch of filthy pigs.