The words of U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, has come back to bite him on the issues of stimulus fund spending and high-speed rail dollars.
First, Kirk wrote a letter to the Highland Park News urging Pace to buy hybrid buses, rather than the regular gas eaters. He said Pace could use stimulus funding for the purchase. Problem is, Kirk had voted against the entire stimulus package.
And, as the Pace board chair wrote in another letter to the editor:
"Pace approached Congressman Kirk for five straight years requesting
federal funding to add hybrid buses to our fleet, and each time the
request was ignored. Had he taken action, it's very likely Pace would
not only purchase hybrid buses with federal stimulus money as he's now
asking us to do, but we would already have them out on the road today."
Keep all this in mind when considering a vote for Kirk for Senate.
It's something I've been wondering about since the learning that the stimulus funding plan included $8 billion -- and now $12 billion -- to fund high-speed rail projects. The question is: If we fund this project, will there be dollars left to pay for the $7 billion the CTA says it needs to bring the system to a state of good repair.
But as McCarron says:
High-speed trains are all the rage. What I need is one that can carry this White Sox san from the CTA's Noyes Street station in Evanston to 35th Street on the Red Line in less than one hour and 20 minutes.
80 minutes to cover 15 miles, at less than 12 m.p.h. Can't we do better
than that? Just once I'd like to get there for the first inning, maybe
even the national anthem.
I'm not saying I oppose this high-speed rail funding. We've fallen way behind Europe, Japan and other countries. But with limited resources, it's a big concern about whether we can afford to pay for both high-speed raid and basic repairs via capital funds.
(Hat tip to Huffington Post for the Kirk piece.)