Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was part of the leadership who brought today’s debt-ceiling legislation into play. The Republican certainly has been labeled a member of the RINO club in the past, but was he willing to fold in part for a $2 billion federal payoff?
So, how does $2 billion for a state project taste to the senator? Here is a brief portion of a post on Senate Conservative Fund.
The McConnell-Reid bill not only funds Obamacare and suspends the debt limit, it ALSO includes a provision in Section 123 that increases the authorization for the Olmsted Lock in Kentucky from $775 million to nearly $3 billion.
It’s the Kentucky Kickback.
In exchange for funding Obamacare and raising the debt limit, Mitch McConnell has secured a $2 billion earmark.
The dam is on the Ohio River on the Missouri-Kentucky border. McConnell says he had nothing to do with the project, and other senators – Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) – have stated they requested the provision. Isn’t that convenient for McConnell?
Now, I’m a big supporter of Federalism and I understand the “general welfare” clause of the Constitution and this dam project might just qualify for federal funding. From the US Army Corps of Engineers site.
The Locks and Dam 52 and 53 Replacement Project, known as the Olmsted Locks and Dam, is under construction between Illinois and Kentucky about 17 miles upstream from the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The locks are complete and work on the dam continues. Olmsted will replace locks and dams 53 and 52 and greatly reduce tow and barge delays through the busiest stretch of river in America’s inland waterways.
Since the project is specifically related to moving commerce throughout a good portion of the country, I’d say federal funding might be acceptable per our Constitution. Now, just because I think this is an acceptable use of federal dollars, that doesn’t mean the federal government knows what they are doing. From Sept. 16 in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, with my emphasis in bold.
A Post-Dispatch review of thousands of pages of documents and more than two dozen interviews reveal a project plagued by cost overruns, delays and engineering challenges stemming largely from the corps’ stubborn insistence on an innovative construction method that met its match in the unruly Ohio River.
A project that should have been completed years ago has quadrupled in cost because of management failures for which the Corps of Engineers has yet to be held accountable.
And the price tag keeps rising.
In 1988, Congress authorized spending $775 million to replace two 1920s-era Ohio River dams 17 miles from the Mississippi River, at the busiest inland shipping hub in America.
A quarter-century later, the projected cost has ballooned to $3.1 billion.
Moreover, the Olmsted project is barely half done. The latest completion dates: 2020 for the dam and 2024 for the entire project.
That’s right, Congress authorized the spending for this project during the Reagan administration, and it’s still not done. To be honest, nobody knows when it will be done or how much it will cost. Typical of a federal boondoggle project gone wrong.
Keep those federal dollars flowing! The numbers in the stories I’ve collected match up, since today’s legislation raised the authorization from $775 million (as mentioned from 1988) to $3 billion or more.