There was an article in the NY Times today discussing the possibility of getting some sort of “sponsorship” for the Golden Gate Bridge. You know the idea of slapping advertising on everything has gotten bad when people are seriously discussing slapping ads on national treasures. What’s next? I giant “Monster.com” sign below the Mount Rushmore heads? A huge Virgin Airways banner on the Washington Monument?
Kevin Bartram, a sponsorship consultant hired by the bridge’s overseers, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, said any sponsorship would be tastefully done. “It will be appropriate and understated,” Mr. Bartram said. “But visible.”
Uh huh, I’d say that there is absolutely no advertisement which would be “appropriate” on the Golden Gate Bridge. Here’s the problem, the conservative anti-government types have starved the government of funds, and now our elected officials are at a loss about what to do. You see, people all agree with the cut-taxes mantra, but sure don’t want any services to be cut! Of course the fact that taxes go towards things that we all want and need such as infrastructure and bridges that don’t collapse isn’t explained when politicians talk about tax cuts. So now, the Golden Gate Bridge district is going hat in hand to big corporations, who have got very low corporate tax rates, so they can fund a small portion of the expensive bridge maintenance. Of course, that advertising money which is paid to the Golden Gate Bridge will be a tax-deductible advertising expense to those corporations!
The bridge district, with a 2007 operating budget of $150 million, has a projected deficit of $80 million in the next five years. A 2002 toll increase — it now costs $5 to enter San Francisco — was passed by the bridge’s board, and bus and ferry fares have also been steadily increasing. If approved, Mr. Bertram said, corporate sponsorships could bring in as much as $4 million a year by its third year.
So we sell off the visual beauty of one of our nation’s landmarks for a paltry sum, and the bridge still can’t make enough to cover expenses. I’ve got an idea, how about we start taking in enough money in taxes to fund our basic infrastructure. Agreed?
image courtesy of flickr/Chealion