• A $10 Million Rest Area

      Dick Wilson as Mr. Whipple









      Your stimulus money is hard at work in Texas, where state bureaucrats are spending $262 million to build or overhaul several dozen roadside stops. Not all, but most of that money comes from federal funds. No wonder they've spent $10 million on just one rest area near Austin. It doesn't lack for amenities.

      The Salado rest area, which was paid for mostly with a federal transportation enhancement grant, features two children's play areas, state-of-the-art vending machines, a storm shelter and sparkling, spacious restrooms that are cleaned around the clock.

      Local bureaucrats defend the expense, saying people on the road need to safely stop on long trips. We do, but how elaborate of a rest stop do we need? When it's someone else's money, pretty elaborate.

      Many incorporate regional themes. One rest area on Interstate 40 remembers a Route 66 motor court. Another stop near Wichita Falls looks like a barn.

      One in the Panhandle is build into an earthen mound, paying tribute to the region’s Caprock terrain.

      One bureaucrat said, "Who designs those rest areas? Architects. And architects are artists. To them it’s about pride of authorship."

      Proud authors can get extravagant when they get to spend other’s money. Texas politicians have elevated wasting your money to an art form.