How Do You Get Around the Earmark Ban?
Claim it serves tourists. From around the country!
That’s how an amendment from Congressman Scott Garrett got voted down last night. The amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R.5972) would have zeroed-out funding (subs. req’d.) for Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) grants.
In 2008, a rail safety law provided $1.5 billion for capital and maintenance grants over the next 10 years for the Metro. Now, for those of us who use the Metro, we know that maintenance is lacking. For those of us that have looked into the matter even a little bit, we know that the reason the Metro is run so poorly is because the government runs it. If private companies were in charge of the maintenance (and had to compete for the work) then those of us who ride the Metro might be able to travel to and from our destination without one broken escalator (seriously, every day there’s at least one on my route).
Anyway, those who opposed this zeroing-out said that because the Metro serves tourists from around the country, is not an earmark and thus deserves the funding.
Luckily, Rep. Garrett is quick on his feet and helpfully pointed out that New York and New Jersey’s transit systems serve such tourists but do not receive directed funding. Boom!
Unfortunately, the amendment was voted down, meaning the mismanaged, corrupt Metro will continue to receive federal taxpayer funds. And we will continue to get delays, broken escalators, broken elevators and broken trains.
H.R.3496 The Biggest Pork Barrel Earmark in History