Yesterday, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released the “Pig Book,” its annual compilation of all the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. This year’s edition contained some welcome news: “thanks to voter outrage and a one-year moratorium imposed by Democrats after taking over Congress,” the “number and cost of pork-barrel projects is way down” after years of record pork-barrel spending.
But the news was not all good. CAGW found that in last year’s defense spending bill, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) included $209,900,000 for projects in his state. The level of spending represented “an increase of 127 percent over the $92,425,000 for Alaska in the fiscal 2006 defense bill.” Stevens is no stranger to pork — he championed the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” and is one the Senate’s most prolific earmarkers. One egregious pork request from Stevens could be called the “Polar Express to Nowhere”:
$4,000,000 for the Northern Line Extension … The Northern Line Extension will provide a direct route from North Pole (pop. 1,778 in 2005) to Delta Junction (pop. 840 in 2000), which is a whopping 82.1 mile drive on one highway between the two villages … The Alaska Railroad Corporation said, “The proposed rail line would provide freight and potentially passenger rail services serving commercial interests and communities in or near the project corridor.”
For a sense of the metropolises that are the “communities in or near the project corridor,” here is a map of the area via Google:
Stevens is no fan of CAGW or their reports. “All they are is a bunch of psychopaths,” he said in 1999. “They are idiots.”