As a follow up on my previous post on the highway bill, I would like to mention a pet peeve: elected officials who think that because they help fund a local project with taxpayer money, it is appropriate to name the projects after themselves. In my view, this reflects a serious misapprehension about the nature of their role in our government. They are, after all, spending taxpayer money. If they want to name a bridge, a park, or a college program after themselves, they should put up their own money.
Democrats and Republicans alike can offend in this area: A recent AP story on the highway bill reports that Rep. Young (a Republican) is getting a bridge named after himself in his home state of Alaska, and Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is putting $16 million of government funds into the Nick J. Rahall II Appalachian Transportation Institute at Marshall University. (Rahall may have learned from senior Senator Byrd, who is among the most prolific namers in our government. Googling "Robert C. Byrd" generates a whole list of programs, institutes, schools, etc. named after this sitting senator.)
The AP story mentioned above is available here: http://www.newsday.com/news/politics/wire/sns-ap-highway-projects,0,6603638,print.story?coll=sns-ap-politics-headlines
A full list of projects is available at the Taxpayers for Common Sense website (see below), though unfortunately we can’t search to see whether the project will be named after someone. That would be very interesting.