Thursday, June 23, 2005

Highway-to-nowhere bill

...Two questions remain: First, why has the president decided to end the debate at $283.9 billion? Because enough is enough. The $284 billion, according the Office of Management and Budget, itself exceeds the $256 billion that would be necessary to follow through on essential federal highway projects. Further, that includes about 4,000 earmarks and set-asides for projects having nothing to do with critical infrastructure.

Secondly, where does it end? If the president backs off the $284 billion, how much more will it take to satisfy the lobbyists' appetite for pork -- $500 billion? A trillion?

If the president does not hold this line, there will be no end to the spending of taxpayers' money and no incentive for states to find creative avenues for new technology and enhanced infrastructure through public private partnerships.

The Senate should stop trying to hogtie the president's limitation on spending to their pork barrel projects. The country cannot afford another extension of the existing legislation and certainly cannot afford to waste an entire construction season.

As for the highway lobbying community: Stop trying to broker a deal between the Senate and the president. The impasse being created is taking us down a road to nowhere. (
Commentary by Duane Parde in The Washington Times)


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