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Idaho Congressmen oppose transportation bill

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 America’s 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 nation’s 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 taxpayer’s 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 don’t get created, work doesn’t 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 don’t make our corridors of commerce safer or more efficient. It’s a matter of budget discipline and fiscal responsibility.”

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