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)

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).

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.

  • the ARC transit tunnel connecting New York City and New Jersey 
  • Utah’s Mid-Jordan light rail, Draper light rail, and Weber-to-Salt Lake City commuter rail projects
  • the Sound Transit light rail extension in the Seattle area
  • the West, East, and Gold rail transit corridors in the Denver area
  • Northwest/Southwest light rail and the Houston light rail extension in Texas
  • the Dulles Corridor extension of D.C.’s Metro into Virginia
  • the Sacramento light rail extension
  • Honolulu’s proposed rail transit line
  • the Miami area’s Metrorail Orange Line extension
  • Wilshire Boulevard bus-only lanes and the Metro Gold Line extension in L.A.
  • the Blue Line extension in Charlotte, N.C.
  • the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line rehabilitation project
  • bus rapid transit from Bellevue to Redmond in Washington state
  • the Tennessee statewide bus program
  • Commuter rail improvements on the Wilmington to Newark route in Delaware
  • regional rail from Ann Arbor to Detroit
  • Stamford urban transitway in Connecticut
  • DJB

    But Senator, how will you visit East LA when you’re too old to drive?! :)

  • Spokker

    The Hoover Dam is a paranoia project so bad people don’t drive on the bridge, stop and blow it up, lol.

  • Spokker

    The Hoover Dam Bypass that is.

  • This looks more like an ideological assault on the concept of public transit than anything else. It’s not that surprising though… people who take public transit typically don’t vote GOP, and I don’t mean income level of transit riders… more of a frame of mind argument. Plenty of rich people take subway in NYC or DC. Effective transit makes urban areas more livable and that has a long term detrimental effect on GOP’s electoral prospect, which depends on continue expansion of exburban sprawl.

  • BB

    I suggest you write him a email and then keep writing him emails.

    I don’t own a car and am appalled you think mass transit is wasteful spending. Unless I pollute the earth, and waste funds we don’t have. I am not allowed in your elusive group. The Fed. gas tax has not been raised since 1993 and AZ 1991. You recently voted to remove 17 mass transit projects and one highway project. No wonder your state will completely fail long after your dead. Thank You The next generation.

  • As much as people have been bitching about Obama’s job performance, this kind of thing is EXACTLY why I do not regret voting for him for one second.

    I mean Biden being a big fan of Amtrak/the rail system was one of the big reasons I voted for the both of them. Having a VP that rides the train is scores better than the legions of republicans that, for whatever stupid reason, actively oppose public transit projects they come across.

  • Jerard

    This whole list reeks of McCain looking to dip into these areas coffers for campaign donations as his re-election is coming up. This the same thing a Republican Congressman Istook did regarding the East LA Gold Line FTA funding and then walked away with over $25,000 of campaign donations.

  • Wow, Jerard–it has been ages since I thought of that article.

    McCain is just grandstanding. He has little clout even in his own party.

  • carter

    Does McCain mean the eastside gold line extension, or the gold line extension to Claremont? I mean, the former, is getting ready to open in a month, while the latter is only in formative stages, depending on the persons you talk to.
    Agree with the latter, nonsense if he refers to the former.
    The Wilshire bus lanes can be lived without if necessary.

  • McCain is correct. You don’t throw money at expensive money whole in times like these. With spending out of freaking control, the deficit quadrupled from the Bush years, health care socialization on the horizon… we need to start getting smart about how we handle the money.

    Public transportation is a massive money loser too – something you should only fund when you have money or need votes.

  • Erik G.

    He’s going to be tossed by Arizona voters. The 2008 presidential campaign opened alot of eyes as to his true nature, Cindy’s wealth, his dependence on Cindy’s wealth, and the treatment of wife #1.

    And if the Dems would get Massacusetts to name a replacement senator ASAP, and stop trying to be “bipartisan”, the 60 votes they would have would make his amendments moot.

  • Michael T. Greene

    Uh, excuse me, Sen. McCain, but where were your fellow Republicans when W was running up humongeous deficits, and starting wars for oil and family vengeance(in the case of the latter, there are guys who are based not too far from me who could have done that for FAR less than you had the Government spend)? And where were today’s “teabaggers” when that happened? Oh, they were cheering this on! Why do I have the feeling that if the “teabaggers”, and your Republican friends had heard those of us who are current backers of this Administration utter even a minor protest prior to 1/20/2009, you’d want us shipped to Gitmo as terrorists!?!

  • I second carter’s question. Which Gold Line extension is it?

  • … but I disagree with your latter.

  • Interurbans

    Just think that we could have had him for President. It seams that 9 out of 10 projects that he considers boondoggles are transit and most of those are rail projects. Where are all of the highway boondoggles like widening the 405 in Orange County, all of the expensive interchanges in Orange County where traffic returned to its pre construction levels within weeks of completion? What about the 271 highway project in Washington DC a perfect multibillion dollar useless highway project? Everything he advocates it to keep us dependent on Muslim Arab and Venezuelan oil and his highway friends. Lets all look forward to his retirement in the upcoming election. Transit is not his only poor choice as a reprehensive.

  • Guest

     GoldLine Eastside Extension (the first one that has been completed and is very successful)



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