"We spent approximately $20-billion of that money on pork barrel, earmark projects. Maybe if we had done it right, maybe some of that money would have gone to inspect those bridges and other bridges across the country."
John McCain on Saturday, August 4th, 2007 in a comment to a reporter.
Right on bridge repairs
McCain is right. Bridge repair and bridge construction are authorized in the same bill. But of course, members of Congress would prefer to cut ribbons on new projects rather than see money go to less sexy repair projects.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn., recently unveiled a new plan to invest $65-billion immediately in replacing or repairing bridges. Rather than redirecting money in the highway bill, Oberstar has proposed establishing a dedicated fund for bridge repair. But raising that $65-billion within the federal budget would be a huge problem.
Published: Friday, October 12th, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
Subjects: Federal Budget
Sources:American Society of Civil Engineers, Infrastructure Report Card
Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation, Review of Congressional Earmarks
Interviews with former Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla., and Keith Ashdown, chief investigator, Taxpayers for Common Sense
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