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Posts from the "John McCain" Category

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McCain’s List of Wasteful Transit Includes Wilshire Bus-Only Lanes and Gold Line Extension

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a self-styled foe of what he labels
wasteful government spending, has launched a broadside against transit
projects in the U.S. DOT’s 2010 spending bill, which is slated for a
vote this week in the upper chamber of Congress.

john_mccain_speech.jpgSen. John McCain (R-AZ) (Photo: Scrape TV)

McCain
had proposed more than 20 amendments to the legislation as of Friday –
all but one of them to prohibit fellow lawmakers from earmarking
Federal Transit Administration aid for local transit systems.

The GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee frequently targets earmarks that span
a broad variety of issues, although his efforts rarely succeed in
peeling off more than a handful of Democrats. Still, his target list
for the 2010 spending bill that funds the DOT and the Department of
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is notable for its focus on
stifling transit.

McCain included one federal highway
project on his hit list, one that appeared deliberately chosen from his
home state: a $4.25 million earmark for the Hoover Dam bypass bridge, requested by his fellow Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R).

Even
if McCain’s amendments fall short, as is likely, the U.S. DOT still
could be blocked from spending money on clean transportation. Sen. Tom
Coburn’s (R-OK) seven proposed amendment to the 2010 bill include one
that would "prohibit the use of funds for
roadkill reduction programs, transportation museums, scenic
beautification projects, or bike and pedestrian paths"
until the nation’s highway trust fund is on a firmer financial footing, according to a report in Friday’s CQ.

After the jump, check out a full list of the transit projects that McCain aims to strike this week.

Read more…

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McCain & Coburn: Let’s Make Roads Safer — by Slashing Safety Money

A report released today [PDF] by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), timed to coincide with debate on a $7 billion highway trust fund fix, accuses their fellow lawmakers of "raiding" the fund for transportation "pet projects."

John_Mccain_bike.jpgSen. John McCain (R-AZ) (Photo: City-Data.com)

What wasteful projects have drawn such scorn from the duo? Not the I-69 road in Indiana, where the governor told planners to bend federal rules while taking federal money.

Not I-66 in Kentucky, a road that has benefited from $90 million in Capitol largess despite being unlikely to ever reach "interstate" status.

No, McCain and Coburn are frustrated by road access improvements, bike paths, and pedestrian safety programs — which get about 1 percent of federal aid despite an estimated 13 percent fatality rate for those who walk the nation’s streets.

Citing
a Government Accountability Office audit that found $78 billion in
trust fund spending on non-road projects over the past five years,
McCain and Coburn classify pedestrian safety as a way to "make roads
more scenic," not safer.

"I don’t mean to diminish safety, but do we really need to spend money on brochures…?" McCain asked in a Senate floor speech.

From the report’s conclusion:

Are all of the projects being funded by the highway trust fund essential priorities?

If
so, then motorists may be forced to sacrifice by paying higher taxes as
some in Congress are proposing. If not, then members of Congress may be
required to sacrifice by eliminating or postponing funding for projects
that are not necessary or are unaffordable at this time.

Since raising taxes on gas has already won support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the director of the state DOTs’ lobby group, one might expect McCain and Coburn to take a look at that option.

At the very least, perhaps the duo would examine "unaffordable" road projects as well.

Or
maybe McCain could convince Coburn of the wisdom of using highway trust
fund money to pay for inter-city passenger rail. After all, as the
subscription-only CongressDaily reported, in February 2002, McCain once
thought that was a great idea:

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