The video is funny but the letters are even funnier. Why? Because the Senator hopes you don't know what you're reading. Those highly selective letters were simply requests by the Texas Department of Transportation to the Senator to earmark projects that could be fully funded and that could be built. Those letters were attempts to ask her to do it right.
The dirty little secret is that she never earmarks enough funds for any single highway project, but she takes full credit in her press releases like she's out there building these things herself. She doesn't talk about leaving the state and locals to pick up the deficit; she rarely if ever considered if her earmarks were on the planning books of the local metropolitan planning organization (i.e. did the people ultimately responsible for it even want it?); and the best part is while local planners and the state department of transportation have to send $1.6 billion back to D.C. through rescissions, she's made sure that her personally-selected earmarks were exempt. Not only did Texas have to take future projects off the books, pork projects were immune. Thanks Kay!
Let's use a present day example. Recently she issued a press release about securing a $500,000 earmark for IH-69. If she stays in the U.S. Senate for 11,999 more years (and inflation holds still), she will have earmarked a major $6 billion highway corridor into existence. Now THAT'S leadership. No tolls, no private sector, no gas tax increase--she can earmark everything into existence.*
Why didn't anyone think of that before? It's utterly brilliant.
What makes this really kind of depressing is to process this along with her antics earlier this year flying around to local groups who desperately want new roadways, holding press conferences announcing how much she likes their roads, denouncing toll roads and Rick Perry, and then flying off to her next gig. Did she ever once tell anyone how she was going to pay for these projects? Nope. Not at all. She used people from Dallas (Trinity Parkway), Lubbock (Ports to Plains), and the Valley (IH-69) as props in her press conferences. It was remarkably tasteless, even by base and shallow D.C. standards.
And did she actually help any of them? Okay, I have to admit that she did. She's got a strong start on her 12,000 year plan to build IH-69. The rest of them are just going to have to wait until she finishes that one and then she'll get right to them.
Those letters from TxDOT, if you completely read them and put them in their proper context, are an attempt to vaccinate the agency and others from Congressional Swine Flu. One of these days why don't you ask the Senator about leading an effort in the Texas Congressional Delegation to bully state transportation professionals to accept earmarks?
*Amazingly, though, it will require land to build IH-69, something she's opposed to. Hmmm, needing land to build a highway must be Rick Perry's fault, right?
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
One of Kay's attacks really hits home with someone...
Kay's campaign team produced two letters sent to Kay's Senate office in 2003 and 2004 from some TXDOT bureaucrat (link). I don't really get what the letters are trying to accomplish or prove, but someone in the comments section blew a gasket (link). Excerpt follows...
That sounds like someone deeply involved in this issue was triggered into writing this... someone was clearly not very happy with the documents Kay's team produced... this is all over my head and I am not ashamed to admit that. I don't think these letters are a very effective smoking gun, as documents with information blacked out tend to be in these situations.