Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Representative Donna Edwards (D-Md.) its December 2012 Porker of the Month for her disdain for the priorities of elected officials and voters who do not wish to continue funding high-speed rail projects in their states.
In the December 6, 2012 edition of the Washington Post, Rep. Edwards suggested that high-speed rail should move forward regardless of the wishes of those who could be left with the tab, such as taxpayers in Florida, Ohio, or Wisconsin, whose governors rejected federal high-speed rail subsidies in 2009. In response to statements from California Representatives Kevin McCarthy (R) and Jeff Denham (R), who agreed that the high-speed rail being planned in California is prohibitively expensive, Rep. Edwards insisted, “We need to get started. I know when the interstates were being built there were areas that didn’t want them. Who doesn’t want a highway now?”
Rep. Edwards apparently has not gotten the message from her colleagues in the House of Representatives or the Senate. Both bodies of Congress have twice rejected requests by President Obama for high-speed rail funding; first in April 2011, when $2.5 billion in funding was rescinded, and again in April 2012, when a budget request for $1 billion was denied. Her comments also ignore high-speed rail’s track record of creating a black hole for public funds. On average, the final cost of high-speed rail projects across the globe runs 45 percent above initial projections. For example, the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s original estimate of a San Francisco-to-Anaheim line was pegged at $35.7 billion, but that price tag has since risen by 90 percent, to $68 billion.
“CAGW has long been an opponent of federal funding for high-speed rail,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “At a time when the federal government is supposed to be looking for ways to save money, Rep. Edwards’ brand of cargo cult economics, in which the symptoms of prosperity are mistaken for its cause, should be shouted down from all sides. Truckloads of highway earmarks have done nothing to improve West Virginia’s economy, and shiny new trains will not save California, Florida, Ohio, or Wisconsin. Rep. Edwards would do well to spend more time finding ways for the federal government to afford the services it already provides and less time promoting new, wasteful projects.”
For encouraging more federal investment in high-speed rail boondoggles while drowning out the protestations of states she purports to help, Rep. Donna Edwards is CAGW’s December 2012 Porker of the Month.
CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.