Simpson, Otter cite waste, lack of environmental
reforms in voting no
WASHINGTON Idaho Congressmen Mike Simpson and C.L.
Butch Otter voted against an overloaded federal
highway funding bill on Friday (April 2) that spends too much
in the wrong ways and does too little to address the real
problems facing Americas transportation system.
Simpson and Otter said the Transportation and Equity Act:
A Legacy for Users really amounts to an unwelcome legacy for
American taxpayers. They acknowledged the need for upgrading
roads and bridges, reducing congestion and improving safety.
But they said H.R. 3550, which the House approved 357-65,
is not the answer.
Unfortunately, the transportation bill combines too
little reform with too many pork barrel earmarks which leaves
our nations highway users and taxpayers with too little
return on their investment, Congressman Simpson said.
Without the streamlining provisions pushed for so hard
by Congressman Otter, this bill promises to spend a lot of
money in courts but not much money on pavement. While I cannot
support this bill, I remain hopeful the negotiations between
the House and the Senate will produce a bill that contains
more reforms, treats all states more equitably, and spends
the taxpayers money more wisely.
The bill has no effective streamlining provisions to
keep important transportation projects like those along
U.S. 95 in Idaho from being delayed for years when
over-reaching environmental laws throw up bureaucratic roadblocks.
That means good jobs dont get created, work doesnt
get done and people keep dying along unsafe highways while
lawyers and paper pushers fight over a three-toed frog in
a mud puddle, Otter said.
There also is too much money in this bill for pork-barrel
projects that dont make our corridors of commerce safer
or more efficient. Its a matter of budget discipline
and fiscal responsibility.