29.4% Increase in Pork in 2011 Senate THUD Act

Tuesday September 14th, 2010   •   Posted by David Theroux at 6:56am PDT   •  

Citizens Against Government Waste reports that the U.S. Senate’s version of the 2011 Department of Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Act includes 590 projects ($2.2 billion) with an increase of 29.4% in costs over Fiscal Year 2010’s 588 projects.

“The significant increase in the number of projects is indicative of senators� continued commitment to earmarking large swaths of transportation funds for pet projects and occurs even as President Obama is proposing yet another �stimulus� package to jumpstart the stagnant economy by funding roads and bridges. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), and Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) combined for 122 projects worth $344.4 million, or 15.7 percent of the total. The following are examples of pork in the bill:

* $387,863,262 or 17.6 percent of the total pork, by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) for two rail projects: $202,315,000 for Long Island Rail Road east side access, and $185,548,262 for Phase I of the Second Avenue subway.

* $182,100,000 by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Robert Bennett (R-Utah) for three rail projects: $100,000,000 requested in conjunction with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) for the Mid-Jordan Light Rail Transportation project, $80,000,000 for the Weber County to Salt Lake City Commuter Rail, and $2,100,000 for Draper Light Rail.

* $22,507,000 by 29 senators for bicycle paths, trails, walkways, and greenways, including $2,500,000 by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) for Illinois pedestrian and bicycling road and trail improvements and enhancements and $1,000,000 by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to improve the Dequindre Cut Greenway in Detroit. Plagued with economic problems, the city has more important priorities than a glorified bike trail and graffiti art gallery.

* $1,800,000 by Senate appropriator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) for the Denali Commission. Since 2006, this program has received $25,513,250.

* $900,000 by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to construct a beach park promenade in Pascagoula.

* $700,000 by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) for two downtown streetscape projects in Custer and Yankton.”

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September 2010