Central Corridor may be stuck in congressional stop-and-go

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Outside the world headquarters of News Cut, work is continuing on the light-rail line that may never come to St. Paul.

The city’s downtown has been a disaster for most of the summer since work crews began moving utility lines and preparing for construction of the actual light-rail line — known as the Central Corridor — next year.

Some glass was installed on the world headquarters itself today. They’re testing it to see if it will dampen the noise from the trains.

It might all be for nothing. Or not.

Rep. Michele Bachmann has told the Star Tribune that she favors redefining “earmarks,” one day after she won a battle to ban them. Her ban could sink projects like the Central Corridor, which has been funded in part through “earmarks.”

During an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America today, Rep. Bachmann said nothing about the possibility that she’s come up with a way around her own ban, but then again, she was hardly pressed on the issue.

“We need to be able to represent the needs of our community and I believe transportation earmarks are important. But I also think the Yellow Ribbon campaign for our returning National Guard is important, too,” Rep. Betty McCollum told MPR’s Cathy Wurzer this morning. She said without the earmark spending, many jobs will be lost in the St. Paul area.

  • Disco

    Nevermind the fact that earmarks account for just 1% of the federal budget. It’s easier to just vilify them and conveniently ignore the 80,000-metric ton elephants in the room of the Iraq and Afghan wars. And the Bush tax cuts for rich people.

    Those god dang earmarks. Spawn of Satan, I tell you.

  • Craig Westover

    The argument FOR earmarks is simple: The Constitution authorizes congress to appropriate funds for projects. For accountability, projects should be debated and voted on individually. All projects should have a national intent, not simply a local benefit. Individual members of congress could then be held accountable for the quality of earmarks they propose and vote for.

    The earmarks that should be banned are those autonomously attached as amendments to bills already reviewed by committee.

    What is extra constitutional are omnibus spending bills that mix multiple earmarks with appropriations to executive bureaucracies to fund programs w/o accountability for individual expenditures. Ironically, that is the system being promoted by banning earmarks.

  • Jim Shapiro

    You rock, Disco.