Wednesday, September 14, 2005

DeLay Gets It Wrong

The Washington Times is reporting that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay "said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an 'ongoing victory,' and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget." I hate to get down on a Republican leader, but sometimes you must.

DeLay is way off base. Sure the Republicans have been generally more responsible financially than Democrats were when they controlled the Congress. And granted the attacks on September 11th, higher costs for oil, the War on Terror, etc. have in their own ways led to more spending that anticipated when Bush took office in January 2001. But spending is still out of control, as evidenced by the recently passed $286.4 billion Transportation Bill.

I'm a big believer in transportation and infrastructure funding and construction. I suppose I'm one of those people who believe you really can build your way out of congestion. When the roads bill was passed, like transportation funding bills in the past, I look to see what progress will be made with that funding. This bill provides for many much-needed projects. But, it's also full of pork...

$800,000 for a parking facility in Peoria, IL
$750,000 for construction of horse riding trails at Jefferson National Forest
$440,000 for a bike/pedestrian path in Powers, OR
$2.8 million for the West Ridge Nature Preserve in Chicago
$850,000 for construction of bicycle and trolley path in Hattiesburg, MS
$250,000 for pedestrian and streetscape improvements in Ellaville, GA
$1.3 million to construct a recreational visitor center on the Mesabi Trail in Virginia, MN
$2.5 million for landscaping enhancements along the Ronald Reagan Freeway Route 118 in CA
$2 million for a parking facility in Bozeman, MT
The list goes on and on and on. 200 pages of these earmarked expenditures. Most are probably justified. Many are not.

There's still a tremendous amount of cutting that needs to be done. DeLay is living in a dream world if he believes otherwise.