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DCCC: Schilling votes to spend taxpayer dollars on Canadian highway, while America's infrastructure continues to lag behind our global competitors
Remember the “Bridge to Nowhere?” Representative Bobby Schilling (IL-17) just went farther and voted to spend taxpayer dollars on a highway in Canada. Today, Schilling sent a clear message to Illinois voters that his GOP stands for Get Our Pork.
Bobby Schilling opposed ending two earmarks in the Surface Transportation Extension Act passed this evening. The measure would have prevented the $30 million in annual gas taxes from funding an earmark for a 322-mile highway in Canada, and ended an earmark to construct a 65-mile, multiple lane highway for Republican Financial Services Chairman Spencer Bachus’ hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.
Last year, Schilling voted against finally ending authorization of federal funding for the poster child of Republican excessive spending — Alaska’s “Bridges to Nowhere.”
“We must reduce spending and the deficit, but Representative Bobby Schilling just voted to spend taxpayer dollars on a road in Canada and also to fund an earmark for a senior Republican lawmaker,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Schilling’s GOP stands for Get Our Pork because he refuses to stop spending — on earmarks for Canadian highways, pet projects for fellow Republicans in Washington, or tax breaks for the ultra wealthy. Republicans like Schilling talk a lot about their ban on earmarks but now he is breaking that promise, showing they will talk the talk but not walk the walk.”
Bobby Schilling Voted to Allow Congress to Fund a Canadian Highway. In 2005, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) provided $30 million annually for the construction of a 322-mile highway in Canada. On April 18, 2012, House Republicans voted against a plan to stop Congress from building this highway. Additionally, it would have stopped the federal government from using $12.289 million that was already appropriated for the project. [HR 4348, Vote #169, 4/18/12; 23 USC § 218; Federal Highway Administration’s SAFETEA-LU Fact Sheet, accessed 4/18/12; Federal Highway Administration’s Guide to Federal-Aid Programs and Projects, 7/16/10]
Bobby Schilling Voted to Keep Spencer Bachus’ $2.5 Billion Earmark. In 2004, the Spencer Bachus added a provision to the transportation bill to designate a 65-mile, multilane beltway around Birmingham a part of the Appalachian Development Highway System. The project was called the X-1 Corridor, and to accommodate it, Congress had to expand the 3,025-mile highway system by 65 miles. The most recent cost estimates project that the X-1 Corridor will cost $2.5 billion to construct. On April 18, 2010, House Republicans voted against a plan to remove this $2.5 billion earmark. [HR 4348, Vote #169, 4/18/12; PL 108-199; Appalachian Regional Commission FY 2005 Performance Budget Justification; Status of the Appalachian Development Highway System, 9/30/11; Spencer Bacchus’ website, accessed 4/17/12]
Schilling voted to maintain funding for the “Bridge to Nowhere.” In March 2011, Bobby Schilling voted against a measure that would have prevented funding for the notorious Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere.” The motion to recommit would have rescinded $183 million in funding for planning, design and construction of the Gravina Island and Knik Arm bridges in Alaska. [HR 662, Vote #159, 3/02/11]
House Republicans Voted to Ban Earmarks. House Republicans “adopted a voluntary ban on pet projects know as earmarks” in November 2010 for the new Republican Majority. John Boehner said at the time the ban, “shows the American people we are listening and we are dead serious about ending business as usual in Washington.” [Reuters, 11/18/10]