*This post originally appeared on the Hill's Congress Blog
by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (WV)
The stimulus package — originally billed to Americans as a “great infrastructure investment” — is now back in the news and reality is not living up to the original rhetoric. News reports out recently have shed further light on the fact that transportation projects weren’t truly the “core of the package,” despite initial promises from the Administration.
Though it received top-line billing from the President and others, funding for highways and bridges made up a whopping 4 percent of the bill – that’s just over $27 billion out of $787 billion. This is precisely why many of us pushed for a more focused tax relief and infrastructure-heavy package back in January and February.
After all, in the rugged terrain of my home state of West Virginia, we know that good roads and highways are critical for economic growth. We know that investment in our highways not only means jobs today, but a foundation for the jobs of tomorrow.
Yet just last week, the Administration saw fit to trim funding for one such highway in my district. Amidst the backdrop of hundreds of billions in a financial rescue and a budget that will send our national debt ballooning, I would certainly hope that fiscal discipline becomes a priority. Yet, I struggle to understand how striking much-needed highway funds is the best way to reach that goal — particularly from an Administration that came to office claiming a commitment to investing in our roads.