December 18th, 2008
02:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Mayors' infrastructure request full of pork, critic says

The mayors' proposal requests a $4.8 million polar bear exhibit at the Providence, Rhode Island, zoo.
The mayors' proposal requests a $4.8 million polar bear exhibit at the Providence, Rhode Island, zoo.

(CNN) - A report to Congress that requests $73.2 billion to pay for infrastructure projects around the country includes plans for a polar bear exhibit, an anti-prostitution program, a water park ride, zoos, museums and aquatic centers, CNN has found.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors went to Capitol Hill earlier this month with a report listing 11,391 infrastructure projects proposed by 427 cities. The mayors claimed the proposal would create 847,641 jobs in 2009 and 2010.

The more than 800-page document is titled "Main Street Economic Recovery: 'Ready To Go' Jobs and Infrastructure Projects."

"Our plan calls for investments that will stimulate our economy by quickly creating jobs, fixing our aging and crumbling infrastructure, increasing our global competitiveness, and further reducing our carbon footprint," Miami, Florida, Mayor Manny Diaz said at a news conference last week. Accompanied by other big-city mayors, he held up a copy of the hefty report to stress its importance.

"To reverse the current economic crisis, we must invest wisely. We must invest where we get the greatest return. We must invest in Main Street," said Diaz, who is the president of the mayors' group.

But a close examination of the projects by CNN shows proposals that go far beyond basic infrastructure plans for roads, bridges and other traditional public works projects.

Full story


Filed under: Economy
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Phil in KC

    While I don't have anything against zoos or polar bears, I fail to understand how this is going to create a lot of jobs. And the ones they would create would be low-wage entry level or highly specialized. How's that going to turn around out economy?

    December 18, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. obama-mama

    I would love a new deck on my house and new windows. Is that an infrastructure project

    December 18, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Mike Dallas

    And since when is anti-prostitution programs, zoos, and museums considered "pork"?

    At least these are "shovel ready" and can start immediately, a key part of any stimulus plan.

    December 18, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Who says that they to fund all of these projects? These things are what they are looking for... The cities don't have to get all of them.

    December 18, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. FreeNLovIt

    Sounds so American – No common sense

    December 18, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Christopher

    Ummmmmm. Really? No I mean really? Harsh economic times call for a reduction in luxury, not this, not this at all.

    December 18, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. Rick

    No more bailouts. Poor decisions either by industry or city/state officials are their problem. Many of us have predicted failure by these cities and states for years yet they wouldn't change their ways. Now they've made their beds.............

    December 18, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Gene

    Even though some of these are considered "Pork".. the reality is that 1) they create jobs, and 2) These "pork" projects may increase tourism and actually be profitable in the end.

    I wouldn't jump to dismiss these things outright just because they don't serve the basic necessities of life. Places like zoos and water parks have millions of people that go there and spend money every year.

    I would give the go with some of these projects, with the condition that a percentage is given back to Washington until the money they were given is repaid.

    December 18, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. John

    Now is the time to simply eliminate the pork. This is the only bailout I have agreed with but NO PORK ALLOWED. Reject any project with pork attached, let the real requests be built. They will learn!

    December 18, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Get over it

    More PORK, why am I not surprised???????

    If we are going to spend it, at least spend it on roads and bridges.

    December 18, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Lana, California

    I'll keep this brief:

    Roads
    Bridges
    Levees
    Dams

    The rest is pork.

    December 18, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Indigo

    I just wish someone would just allow all knowing CNN to straighten out this country for which they all of a sudden have found the need to investigate. My question is where have they been the past eight years? Why has the government been able to rip us off with such a stellar news organization on the job. My hope is that we will all stop watching them because they do nothing but negative reporting. There's enough negativity going on already. The state of this nation would suggest that CNN is a brand new organization, since they seem to be doing such thorough reporting. Wake up everyone let's stop accepting this baloney.

    December 18, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. karen

    Lets not give money to contractors who want to build more new homes–too many are sitting empty and are part of the problem in the housing market.

    December 18, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. Agnes Fleming

    I am not so sure I would consider an exhibit for Polar Bears pork spending. I believe we owe it to the animal since we are sending this magnificent creature in the wild into extinction because of our unsavory habits and global warming. It's time we really gave back to nature and got the gas guzzlers off the road.

    December 18, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Texas Teacher

    oh.... never mind, CNN... I see you are thinking outside the box! I guess I am just jabbing at the nay sayers! *LOL* And we know there will be plenty of them! :)

    December 18, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. steve for positive change

    Repeat after me: NO MORE PORK, NO MORE PORK, NO MORE PORK !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 18, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. jack

    It's time cities and states realize that the days of getting Federal "tax" money for local projects is long over. People want to pay less taxes, and the only way for that to happen is to get politicians to stop thinking that Washington has an unlimited piggy bank that can be tapped for any purpose.

    If you can't fund it locally, then you really don't need it. Congressman and Senators need to learn to "Just say No".

    December 18, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. Moe, NY

    By now, I would have hoped that these politicans caught on to the fact that the American people are sick and tired of 'PORK".....No more please. Hope Obama puts an end to this unfair practice.

    December 18, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  19. John

    Given that wild polar bears soon won't have a place to live in the wild thanks to us, it seems the least we can do is work on their habitats in zoos, soon the be the only place you'll see them.

    December 18, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  20. flybyshoeing

    Will the incompetence ever end?

    December 18, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. Mark, CA

    What the......! What part of Infrastructure Projects do these people not understand. The days of Bush and his free flowing pork projects are over people. It's time congress went on a diet. No More Pork!!!

    December 18, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. sunshine

    don't they listen to their doctors, pork isn't good for you.

    December 18, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  23. Shasta

    While many of these things can be argued as developing a city's infrastructure, it is completely moronic to suggest that they be funded by federal money that doesn't exist.

    December 18, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  24. Marie - Reno, NV

    All public capital improvements support sustainable local growth. When parks are clean people pick up their dog poop, highly traffic-ed neighborhoods are safer and people take ownership of their wider habitat.

    Creative choices for neighborhood infracture builds on the identity of the local geography and encourages diversity in citywide economic systems. I certaintly hope that the solar panels and local green light rail projects floating around my town come with VERY creative and pragmatic plans that consider aesthetics, and community viability and growth considerations.

    December 18, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  25. Sue

    The Detroit Zoo just requested and got, a small millage from the voters in the three counties that surround the zoo. I suggest these mayors look to their own voters for help, not the rest of us. All our money is being wasted in Iraq and Wall Street, thanks to this idiotic Congress and Bush.

    December 18, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |