Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, criticizes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., For her over-budget San Francisco Bay rail expansion project by more than $ 1 billion and introduces a new bill designed to ban the Department of Transportation (DOT) funding “mess” transit projects that bleed taxpayer dollars.
Ernst told Fox News on Tuesday that she plans to award her monthly “Make ’em Squeal” recipient to DOT for “giving taxpayers a ride on this multi-billion-over-budget gravy train,” said Ernst. referring to the Bay Area rail project, which was supposed to cost $ 4.7 billion three years ago and has now risen to nearly $ 6.9 billion.
“The tunnel for this metro is literally a bottomless pit for taxpayer dollars,” Ernst said in a press release announcing the award.
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As part of Ernst’s pledge to cut wasteful spending in Washington, the senator shines the spotlight each month on a government agency or members of Congress who abuse taxpayer dollars by giving out a “Squeal” award.
The Iowa senator also introduced a new bill on Tuesday, the Put the Brakes on Boondoggles Act, which “would prevent all other tax dollars from going to rail and transit projects that exceed $ 1 billion. the budget and should lose money ”.
The bill would prohibit the DOT from providing any further assistance for a transit or railroad project if the overall cost projection exceeds $ 1 billion and the “operational and administrative” costs of the service provided by the project. “Exceed the revenues generated by ridership each year for the next decade.”
Ernst’s actions come as Democrats in Congress unsuccessfully tried to allocate more than $ 100 million for the COVID-19 relief bill, allocated to expand the BART subway from San Francisco to the neighboring region of the Silicon Valley in northern California.
Pelosi has been criticized by Republicans who claimed she was funding a $ 1 billion per mile project, and well behind schedule, to attract people and income to her own congressional district.
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Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of OpenTheBooks.com, a non-partisan organization committed to ensuring transparency in government, told Fox News he has filed more than 40,000 Freedom of Information Act requests ( FOIA) to hold the government accountable for unnecessary spending.
Andrzejewski pointed to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which reported that the Bay Area rail expansion project would never be self-sufficient without taxpayer subsidies.
He also suggested to Fox News that since the Bay Area project is not financially sound, California should instead look to follow the lead of Arizona, which is in the process of making future streetcar projects illegal and d ” install a more robust bus system in Phoenix.
Another example is Honolulu, Hawaii, which ended a bullet train project after losing millions of taxpayer dollars.
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