Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, the Republican from Mississippi, has had it to here with Porkbusters and other critics of pork barrel spending like Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, who think the federal government has better things to do with $700 million of the taxpayers money than tear up a just-repaired coastal rail line and replace it with a new highway.
Said Lott when asked by an AP reporter about criticism of the project he has long championed and which was just funded in a Senate Appropriations Committee bill to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as additional Hurricane Katrina relief:
"I'll just say this about the so-called porkbusters. I'm getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble ever since Katrina. We in Mississippi have not asked for more than we deserve. We've been very reasonable."
The government just spent $300 million to repair the rail line that Lott and his fellow Mississippi Republican Senator Thad Cochran want to tear up and replace with a highway to serve the heavily populated coastal region.
I guess he's hearing from people he'd rather not. You know, the ones who don't have their checkbooks out.
UPDATE: N.Z. Bear writes: "I'm sorry to say it, but we have just barely gotten started making the likes of Mr. Lott tired. So I hope he's ready for many sleepless nights to come."
Bill Quick: "Since when does anybody 'deserve' somebody else's hard-earned money?"
ANOTHER UPDATE: Jane Meynardie emails: "It is my understanding, based on local press reports and town meetings discussing the recovery plan, that the government did not spend $300 million to repair the rail line. CSX spent that money from its insurance proceeds. The local government could not give CSX any quick assurance that it would be able to afford to buy out the right-of-way and, in the meantime, CSX wanted to serve its 2 customers along the existing line (reasonably enough)."
That's not what the AP story says, but I suppose it's possible that they've made a mistake.