Friday, November 16, 2007

Fighting Pork

My friend Gary wrote about the pork laden Transportation/HUD bill that contained $300m for the 35W Bridge and how certain representatives are taking others in his delegation to task for voting against the bill. I thought it would be enlightening to take a look at some of the numbers and let the readers decide.

$105.6 billion - that is the total amount of spending in that bill. Of that $105.6 billion, $300 million of it was for the bridge!

2300+ - that is the number of pork projects (some say 2314, others say 2380 we'll just go for the low) that were included in this bill including:

$700,000 for the Chicago Theater on the Lake
$500,000 for the Los Angeles County Fire Museum$400,000 for the Riverfront Boardwalk in Green Bay WI.
$700,000 for streetscaping in Joplin, MO.
$550,000 for the demolition of an abandoned church in Raytown, MO
$750,000 for the Detroit (MI) Engineering Theater

That is only a partial list of the projects that were for more money than was "earmarked" for the 35W bridge. That does not include the hundreds of $100,000 earmarks for various states theaters, cultural arts centers, streetscaping, opera houses, aquatic centers and music academies. This is also not a partisan issue. Republicans such as Mel Martinez ($350,000 for the Cuban American Historical Museum), James Inhofe ($140,000 for the Native American Cultural & Educational Authority Cultural Center and Museum) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson ($140,000 for the relocation of the Tom Green County Library) were bellied up to the trough along with the Democrats!

Missing from the bill was $300,000 that was needed for Native American Housing - isn't that what HUD money is SUPPOSED to go to?

This is exactly the type of spending that I was talking about when I said that our priorities were all mixed up! Here was a transportation and housing bill where most of the money went to everything BUT transportation and housing! I mean really - what does a $1million Woodstock Museum really have to do with housing or transportation Senator Clinton?

Imagine how many "structurally deficient bridges could have been fixed with the money that went to these other projects. Once you have done that, you might want to give Senator Coleman, Representative Ellison and Representative Oberstar a ring and ask them what these museums have to do with housing and transportation.

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