Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Pork for the Road

There's enough pork in the Senate's highway bill to earn it a Presidential veto.

President Bush threatened to kill the bill if it went over the amount the House approved. The Senate version tops that by $11 billion.

There's enough pork barrel spending alone -- $12 billion -- to put the Senate's $295 billion plan over the top. It includes 4,000 projects that Senators swear up and down their states need. Critics claim they're just pet projects designed to scratch special intersts backs and win votes back home.

Watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense says the Senate bill "contains a mind-boggling array of tax cuts for alcohol producers, limousines, and gun manufacturers." A fun night on the town, no doubt, but hardly in keeping with the mission of a highway bill.

The bill also won Sen Charles Grassley (R-IA) "Porker of the Month" honors from Citizens Against Government Waste. They cite key projects for Sen Grassley's home state he was able to add as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. From the CAGW website:

  • $4 million to construct the Principal Riverwalk in Des Moines
  • $2 million for transportation enhancements to access Lake Belva Deer in Sigourney
  • $1 million for construction of the 100th Street Interchange on 135-80 in Urbandale
  • $1 million (over three years) for the purchase of 40-foot buses in Des Moines

But people who back the spending say any highway project will pay off. Sen James Jeffords (I-VT) says stretches of bad roads account for a third of the 42,000 highway deaths in the US every year. (Seattle PI)

[Crossposted at]

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