CommunityPam's House Blend

The giant sucking sound of your money leaving your wallet

Chimperor “Small Government” Bush smiles as he is applauded on arriving at Caterpillar’s Aurora facility in Montgomery, Ill., to sign the pork-laden $286.4 billion highway and mass transit legislation that Congress voted overwhelmingly to pass just before the summer break, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2005. The 1,000 page bill includes funding for some 6,000 pet projects for lawmakers in their home districts and took nearly two years for Congress to reach a compromise the White House would accept. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Remember, the GOP is for smaller government. (AP):

Two years in the making, the highway bill contains more than 6,371 special projects valued at more than $24 billion, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. The distribution of the money for these projects “is based far more on political clout than on transportation need,” said Keith Ashdown, vice president of policy for the group.

Alaska, the third-least populated state, for instance, got the fourth most money for special projects — $941 million — thanks largely to the work of its lone representative, House Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young. That included $231 million for a bridge near Anchorage to be named “Don Young’s Way” in honor of the Republican.

Bush mentioned a pet project in Hastert’s district — the $207 million Prairie Parkway connector to join two major highways in the growing region outside Chicago. Hastert has been pushing the project for years although state officials are not convinced it’s the best way to ease traffic, and some critics say it will promote urban sprawl, hurt the environment and swallow up fertile farmland.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding