A memorial to the President's House at Sixth and Market Streets is overdue. But Gov. Rendell's plan to use $3.5 million in funds from the Delaware River Port Authority to help cover the cost is a bad idea.
Last year, the public rightly hammered the DRPA over proposed toll increases for basic maintenance after it had spent hundreds of millions on random community development projects like this in the 1990s. Some of that spending is tied to former State Sen. Vincent Fumo, now on trial for corruption.
That's not to minimize the value of the project. But the funds should not come from bridge tolls.
The site is a reminder of Philadelphia's time as the nation's capital. George Washington and John Adams served parts of their presidential terms there. And here, in a new nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, nine slaves served their owner and master, that new nation's first president.
The excavation of the site in the summer of 2007 drew thousands of onlookers. The planned memorial, which would honor all who served, great and small, will draw many more. So the push to complete the project deserves applause.
But Rendell should find another funding source and remember Washington's words: "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."