View Full Version : Mississippi Senators' Rail Plan Challenged

04-19-2006, 12:57 AM
Front page story in today's Washington Post:

"Mississippi's two U.S. senators included $700 million in an emergency war spending bill to relocate a Gulf Coast rail line that has already been rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina at a cost of at least $250 million.

"Republican Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran, who have the backing of their state's economic development agencies and tourism industry, say the CSX freight line must be moved to save it from the next hurricane and to protect Mississippi's growing coastal population from rail accidents. But critics of the measure call it a gift to coastal developers and the casino industry that would be paid for with money carved out of tight Katrina relief funds and piggybacked onto funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It is ludicrous for the Senate to spend $700 million to destroy and relocate a rail line that is in perfect working order, particularly when it recently underwent a $250 million repair," said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who is planning to challenge the funding when the $106.5 billion war spending bill reaches the Senate floor. "American taxpayers are generous and are happy to restore damaged property, but it is wrong for senators to turn this tragedy into a giveaway for economic developers."

"Securing money for pet home-state projects is nothing new for Lott, a famous benefactor of the Mississippi coastline, or for Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. But the fight over the rail funding will come at a sensitive time, when both houses of Congress have promised to rein in such "earmarks" as part of a larger effort to overhaul ethics rules, and when a stubborn budget deficit has made spending of all kinds a sensitive political issue."



John Fladung
04-28-2006, 03:22 AM
Anyone else catch this on Anderson Cooper 360 last night? Very interesting story.

Point Images
05-01-2006, 05:51 AM
The Post article hits many of the issues - one being Katrina being a funding mechanism (excuse) for a MS development plan contemplated before Katrina. What frustrates the bleepers out of people living there is that some HW 90 bridges such as Bay St Louis remain untouched by reconstruction yet the CSX bridge within sight of the ruined HW bridge was rebuilt and now is proposed for relocation. Obviously, if you put it for a vote in the crippled coastal communities - highway bridge would be a higher priority over RR bridge. Changes in Gulf Coast RR operations were in the works before Katrina - how things play out now will be interesting.