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 Response Page - Jim Oberstar Interview - Highways, Transit, & "Earmarks"   

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Jim Oberstar interview of 04-06-08.

The questions:

1. _2.8 average; 2.0 median___ On a scale of (0) strongly opposed, to (5) neutral, to (10) strongly support, should members of Congress earmark appropriations for specific highway and transit projects within their respective districts?

2. _2.7 average; 1.0 median___ On a scale of (0) strongly opposed, to (5) neutral, to (10) strongly support, should priorities for transit and highway construction projects continue to be established independently of one another?

Charles Lutz (7) (5)

Joe Mansky (5) (0)
I think "earmarking" is a more recent term for what used to be called "log-rolling". It's probably a reality of doing business in Congress.

I also strongly agree that the integrated or multi-modal approach to transportation planning needs to be revived.

Bill Frenzel (0) (0)

Wayne Jennings (5) (1)
Transportation is such a complex issue involving engineering, futuristics, local needs, property rights, politics, etc. As an important high need matter, I'm willing to leave it to non-politicized agencies to propose solutions. Clearly, it will be costly but so was the Interstate system, now a valued part of the scene. Let's roll up the sleeves, pay the necessary gas taxes and get it done.

Ann Berget (8) (0)

Tom Horner (3) (1)

Dan Loritz (2) (0)

Bob Brown (0) (0)

Marina Lyon (5) (2)

Connie Morrison (2) (2)

Al Quie (0) (5)
Study Denver, Portland and Los Angeles and see why their coordinated system worked. Then check on three successful areas where transit and highway decisions were made separately. Just setting up a super agency or putting transit and highway together will not work. Right relationships with a lousy organizational structure produces better results than an academically perfect organizational structure with lousy relationships. The ability to discern the "invisible" enables leaders to bring their vision into fruition.

John Nowicki (0) (10)

Tom Swain (5) (0)

Dennis Johnson (0) (9)

Peter Heegaard (0) (0)

Clarence Shallbetter (2) (1)

Tim McDonald (1) (3)

Shirley Heaton
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Lyall Schwarzkopf (6) (2)

Pam Ellison (2) (10)
I believe that all states must be able to leverage the federal money they need to repair infrastructure problems that affect the majority of people first and that nationwide there are bridges and highways that a vast number of people use daily that must have priority regardless of the state they live in, for example main highways that run across the entire nation, either east to west or north to south that MUST have priority for the busy transportation that is both commercially necessary as well as necessary to keep our tourism business healthy.

Alan Miller (9) (9)

Marianne Curry (0) (0)
I am strongly opposed to earmarks, because I believe 1) they invite "end runs" around the public process of state/local planning efforts, 2) earmarks create opportunities for political influence-peddling in conference committees, 3) earmarks concentrate power in too few hands without oversight or transparency, 4) earmarks make it too easy to "make deals" to trade votes, 5) earmarks invite irresponsible fiscal policy and constitute poor governance policy.

Further, as oil approaches all-time highs and energy costs skyrocket while global warming hits the point of no return, what America needs now (not 20 years from now) is another Manhattan Project to address alternative solutions (including multi-modal transportation) and spur new technologies invented in America. Where is the political will??

Carolyn Ring (2) (1)
Before extensive mass transit is developed, the public must be willing to give up driving their cars, which is a major deterrent. Maybe, the current gas prices will be an incentive. Car-pooling, and two-passenger lanes do not seem to have been that much of an incentive. Education on the energy crises is a "must" .



The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  Lee Canning,  Charles Clay, Bill Frenzel, 
Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and  John Rollwagen.  

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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