More transportation reauthorization earmark requests


A couple of staffers have emailed links to postings that their members have put online; I’ve updated our little Dabble database of earmark requests (I love Dabble, by the way — fast becoming one of my favorite tools). So I’ve added requests for Rep. Zack Space and for Rep. Joe Wilson.

I guess we’ll continue to update the database, at a much slower rate, throughout the week, but as with our previous efforts in this area, I’d much rather be looking at actual earmark requests than criticizing the process of posting them online.

I note, for example, that Rep. Hal Rogers includes, among his earmark requests, more than $83 million for I-66, a project that he’s been supporting for a while:

SOMERSET, Ky. — U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers has funneled nearly $90 million in federal funds toward a proposed interstate highway in Kentucky that likely will never cross the state, much less stretch beyond its borders.

Despite the substantial expenditure of funds, not a single shovelful of dirt has been turned on Interstate 66, conceived nearly two decades ago as a coast-to-coast corridor that would run through Southern Kentucky. Since then, it has been abandoned by every other state as unnecessary or too expensive.

“We try not to build roads that don’t lead anywhere,” said Brent Walker of the West Virginia Department of Transportation, which has never seriously pursued I-66.

Nevertheless, Kentucky continues to push forward, urged on by I-66 supporters, including local politicians and economic-development officials, and driven by Rogers’ powerful influence as a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee.

That influence — accumulated over the 27 years Rogers has represented Southern and Eastern Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District — combined with Congress’ general reluctance to oppose a member’s pet projects, helps explain I-66’s staying power.

The whole article, published by the the Courier-Journal in Dec. 16, 2007, is worth a read.