Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Rep. James Oberstar's Hypocricy

Time magazine has an excellent article in the current issue that directly connects the lack of funding for critical transportation projects with the pork problem. Hopefully this is the start of a mainstream awareness, with even more increased calls to clean up or eliminate earmarks.

The article goes after the classic porker Don Young (R-AK), who, in the 2005 federal transportation bill:
  • Earmarked $229 million for a crossing near Anchorage to be called "Don Young's Way."
  • Had his Alaksan congressional associate Ten Stevens (R-AK) attempt to get $223 million in pork for the imfamous "bridge to nowhere," a crossing to the island of Gravina, population 50.

Still, despite these egregious demands in 2005, and, along with Stevens, being under federal investigation for misallocation of funds and projects, Young had the nerve to say "I told you so" when commenting on a supposed lack of federal funds for roads and bridges. You see, the original proposed transportation bill in 2005 was $375 billion, and back then Young bragged that he had "stuffed it like a turkey." But under veto threats from President Bush, it was scaled back to $286 billion, still higher than Bush's original demands of $256 billion, and then signed into law.

But the, the Time piece goes after Rep. James Oberstar:

Democratic Congressman James Oberstar of Minnesota — his successor as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — bragged about bagging 57 "high-priority projects" for his district in the bill, including a visitor center at Mesabi Station, a bridge for snowmobiles in Onamia and a new $3 million highway between County Road 565 in Hoyt Lakes and the intersection of Highways 21 and 70 in Babbitt. You know the spot.
You know, the same guy who tried to say that the federal government didn't send enough of your money his way, and that he needs more when the next transportation bill comes around in 2009. As if we want to pay for his nature trails.

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