Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The new Federal transportation bill has a real novelty in it --- a $100 million pork project that the home-town district doesn't seem to want:

Hours after the House of Representatives approved a big transportation bill on Friday morning, Representative Jerrold L. Nadler informed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that it would get a $100 million federal grant to design and engineer a freight tunnel under New York Harbor.

Usually, news of such largesse would be cause for celebration. But the Port Authority did not ask for the $100 million, says it did not know about the grant, and is not very interested in the project.

Affected neighborhoods are up in arms, and the governors of both New York and New Jersey, to whom the Port Authority ultimately reports, say they're against it.

To deepen the mystery, this is pork that was doled out by a Congress under very firm Republican control --- to Nadler, a Democrat. Now, why would they do that sort of thing?

Well, to begin with, the project is obviously not very likely to actually happen. But look further. Republicans have been in control of the government of New York City and State for some time now. Long enough that it might have been awkward for them to rally the base with talk of wasteful Democratic pork. But if they want to use that line now, they have their talking point.

Would this Republican Congress pass a $100 million appropriation solely to give fellow Republicans a talking point? Well, what do you think?


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