For Immediate Release    Contact:  Jim Campi
September 4, 1997 (202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) – Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) President Thomas A. Schatz issued the following statement today in response to the introduction of the Building Efficient Surface Transportation and Equity Act (BESTEA):

            “The BESTEA bill, introduced today by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bud Shuster (R-Pa.), is pork-barrel politics of the worst kind.  Not only does the bill break both the letter and spirit of the balanced budget agreement, it also guarantees that federal highway dollars will continue to be doled out to regions with political muscle, rather than to areas that truly need it.

            “Transportation funds often fall prey to pork-barrel spenders in Congress because transportation projects are so visible.  When a road is being built or a local transit system receives new equipment, constituents believe government works.  What they don’t see is the back room wheeling and dealing that goes on to get funding for a particular project.

“Transportation projects are also among the most wasteful.  According to a General Accounting Office study on large-dollar highway projects, 76 percent of federal highway projects come in over budget.  Often, these increases had nothing to do with construction, but occurred during the design and acquisition phases.  Cost overruns ranged from as little as 2 percent for a Texas interstate to a mammoth 211 percent increase for the Corridor X project in Alabama.

“The Shuster bill is a transparent attempt to bribe Southern and Midwestern Representatives into breaking the balanced budget agreement.  Doing so will unleash another tidal wave of spending that will destroy any hopes of balancing the budget during the next few years.”

CCAGW is a 600,000-member lobbying group dedicated to enacting legislation to eliminate waste, inefficiency and mismanagement in the federal government.

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