August 4th, 2007
06:05 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain: Congress shares blame for bridge collapse

McCain criticized pork barrel spending on Saturday

(CNN)–Senator John McCain says Congress should share some of the blame for the collapse of the bridge in Minnesota, because of the diversion of money meant for transportation spending that goes to pet projects for members of Congress.

"Clearly inspections of bridges are needed and that's why the Department of Transportation has ordered them," the GOP presidential candidate said. "That we have to spend 233 million of those dollars earmarked for transportation, that are already intended for transportation, on an outrageous earmark of a 233 million dollar bridge in Alaska to an island with 50 people on it, its an argument for reforming this broken system of corruption and earmarking in Washington." McCain said that money should have been used to fund inspections and repairs of the nation's infrastructure.

McCain has been a vocal critic of "ear marks", narrowly targeted projects that members of Congress tuck into appropriations bills. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, faced criticism for an appropriation of 233 million dollars to build a bridge in an area of his state with a small population.

McCain made the comments to local reporters on Saturday in Ankeny, Iowa following a town hall meeting. He is due to participate in a debate Sunday with the other Republican presidential candidates in Des Moines.

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Iowa • John McCain • Race to '08
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Will - Miami, Fl

    No wonder this country is going to crap. Most people have no flippin' idea what they're talking about. None-the-less, it doesn't stop them from spouting off things like "it's Bush's falut"

    Grow up, stop watching "dance with the stars" and Monday night football and LEARN a little about the country ahd the candidates!

    Vote for an HONEST man – Ron Paul!

    August 4, 2007 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  2. Nguyen Nguyen

    After the trip to Iraq, who would be foolish enough to listen to anything that McCain said?

    August 4, 2007 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  3. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    Our infrastructure, including bridges has been declining from a safety standpoint for years, and only now do they all jump around the microphones talking about what's needed. It's a shame that we always need a disaster in order for the idiots that waste our precious tax dollars to wake up and do something. 9/11 comes to mind.

    August 4, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  4. Portland, OR

    While McCain has a point (and has had a point) about asinine earmarks, any relationship it bears to this bridge collapse is minimal. The dollar investment needed for infrastructure overhaul in the US is so far beyond the annual total of earmarks it's ridiculous, and you can be guaranteed as long as we follow the course the nation's been on since 1980 we won't see a difference made. We could probably sink the total amount spent on Iraq into the problem and still have overhauls of sewage systems, roads and power grids undone.

    It leaves us vulnerable to natural disasters. It leaves us vulnerable to attacks. Itr leaves us vulnerable to random accidents. And I doubt I'll see any meaningful efforts to address it in my lifetime.

    August 5, 2007 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  5. Brian, Baltimore, MD

    Earmarks? How about the billions spent on Iraq? That money surely could have been spent on bridge repairs and plenty of other domestic nessecities.

    August 5, 2007 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  6. Carl, Dallas, Texas

    Not one more person should blame the Bush administration for the bridge collapse...

    These same people most likely fail to realize this war was funded by a deal with China... not our tax money.

    Furthermore, the US highway system has been around with the 1950s, and concrete bridges are even older. There was plenty of time to properly setup in our tax system a way to have enough funds for our infrastructure.

    Guess what... it either no one's fault, or everyones... stop pointing fingers at Bush. I disagree with alot of things they have done, but this is not one of them.

    But hey, keep saying it's his fault. You only look foolish.

    August 5, 2007 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  7. Jon Stephens, Palo Alto, CA

    Bloggers are for the most part a poorly disciplined bunch who think viscerally. A fundamental difference between bloggers and writers who get challenged by editors, copy editors, and fact checkers is quality of content. Bloggers may exercise a measurable amount of influence, but they must be regarded with a huge dose of scepticism. Left, right, populist, or free marketers, they are the first cousins of lobbyists.

    August 5, 2007 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  8. Jim, Clarksburg, MD

    Yep, its that old tried-and-true "Flip" Flop" political strategy again. Worked the first time on someone, why not try again? Flip,flop,flip,flop,flip,flop.

    Get a life.

    August 5, 2007 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  9. Donald Pearson

    McCain is at it again, He's one of the "Lord of the Lies" evil american Terroist that fight his own war not and that of the citizens of Arizona. Bush is the one who cut the money to the Department of Transporation more then half. GOP is totally responsible.

    August 5, 2007 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  10. Roger, Conway SC

    The Senator did not mention the billions sent to fight the Iraq war which he supports, that money should be spent on our needs here in the US it it our money and I would rather we have pet projects that benefit us than fight a war that was uncalled for.

    August 5, 2007 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  11. Derry Don, NH

    How about the $5.3 bn that Bush is spending killing GI's and Iraqis every month, and YOU favor continuing this crime!?!

    August 5, 2007 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  12. Annie, Port Richey, Florida

    I have said and I will repeat!! WE need to take care of our own country.

    I heard someone one day say we need to unelect the Senators, Congressmen and Representatives every election period to teach them that WE run this country and we want it done right. much did it cost for the President's wife to fly to see the bridge and the President? Gee all they have to do is see a video of the disaster to get the full impact of what our leaders didn't do.

    Health insurance are another issue!! We have people dying w/o insurance.

    Gas prices, food I need to say more!!

    We are in a terrible mess in the US and someone needs to bail it out before this cancer spreads!!

    August 5, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  13. GeorgiaVoter

    Wrong John! The state of Minnesota is totally responsible here. The state of Minnesota is given federal tax dollars every year for road infrastructure. And the state of Minnesota collects plenty of road taxes on its own.., every year. So it is the state of Minnesota's responsibility to wisely use that money on actual road repairs instead of things like new roads, traffic camera's, HOV lanes, computers and additional bureaucracy. No one else is at fault here but the state. And when the next bridge collapses, in like say Georgia. That too will be the state's fault and I will be looking to hold them accountable.

    August 6, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. ReadBtwthlins

    There is no doubt that we need to fix our broken system of corruption and earmarking in Washington. Trillions have been wasted...

    But it is not the reason Minnesota chose inspection over maintenance for this bridge. Nor is it a reason to raise taxes.

    August 6, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. Colin, Pacific Grove, Cal.

    The US senate would not sign the Kyoto protocol in 1997 (see Hagel/Byrd resolution.) In fact, it was never presented. Gore and Lieberman indicated the protocol would not be acted upon by the Senate until there was participation by developing nations. Bush could sign the treaty, as Clinton did, but it would never pass the Senate.

    Profits for a gallon of gas are on par with those in the 90's. Pharmacutical companies, Tobacco (Gore) chemical and the computer industries are the profit leaders in the US.

    Clinton and Gore awarded a no bid contract to Halliburton to continue work in the Balkans. Al Gore singled out Halliburton for praise for its military logistics work. (See Logcap, 1992)

    Bin Ladens first attack against the US was in 1992, culminating with the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Clinton wasn't concerned about him until after the 1998 embassy bombings.

    Can't disagree about FEMA though!

    August 7, 2007 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
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