March 13th, 2009
09:33 AM ET
14 years ago

West Virginia's road to nowhere gets stimulus boost


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Critics of the uncompleted, lightly traveled Corridor H say its cost is too high."]

WARDENSVILLE, West Virginia (CNN) - After more than 40 years and $1.5 billion, West Virginia's massive "Corridor H" project is getting another boost from the Obama administration's economic stimulus package, despite questions over whether the project will ever be completed.

The plan is to build a 100-mile, four-lane highway through the Appalachian Mountains, connecting West Virginia to the eastern seaboard. It has been receiving federal money for decades, largely due to Sen. Robert Byrd, the Democrat who has represented West Virginia in the Senate since 1958.

Byrd has steered hundreds of millions of dollars to the project, including a $9.5 million earmark in the $410 billion spending bill signed by the president Wednesday. Another $21 million will come from the nearly $800 billion economic stimulus bill Obama signed into law in February.

Corridor H has been billed as a way to promote economic development in the impoverished state. But most of it remains on the drawing board. It's not projected to be complete until 2035 - and neighboring Virginia says it has no plans to add on to the eastern end of the highway, meaning the road will end in West Virginia, 10 miles from the state line.

So why keep building it?

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Filed under: economic stimulus • West Virginia
January 8th, 2009
06:31 AM ET
14 years ago

Illinois GOP wants closer look at Burris, Blagojevich ties


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Roland Burris told reporters in Washington on Wednesday his appointment has nothing to do with money."]
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (CNN) - Did Roland Burris secure his appointment to Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat through some kind of pay to-play politics of the very sort that have tainted the man who appointed him, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich?

Republicans in the Illinois state legislature are asking that question, and they want Burris, the former Illinois attorney general, to answer in person at a hearing scheduled for Thursday on Blagojevich's impeachment.

And the question is reverberating back to Washington, where Democratic leaders have been blocking Burris from taking the Senate seat, saying the appointment is tainted by Blagojevich, who was arrested last month and accused of trying to sell the seat for money and influence.

Blagojevich, however, has not been indicted and remains governor. He and Burris say the appointment is legal.

In a written affidavit given to the impeachment panel, Burris said he had one limited conversation with the governor about the Senate seat before he was appointed. And that conversation, he said, was initiated by a Blagojevich attorney.

But records show the two men have long ties to each other - including lucrative state contracts, political contributions and even a job for the governor's wife. Those records are raising thorny questions from state officials, particularly Republicans.

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Filed under: Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris
December 12th, 2008
05:02 PM ET
14 years ago

Blagojevich says he'll address constituents at 'appropriate time'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Blagojevich was arrested earlier this week."]CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Friday he will wait to speak to the Illinois people at the "appropriate time."

Asked whether he had anything to say to Illinoisans, the governor, who was leaving his attorney's office, told CNN, "I will at the appropriate time."

The governor also did not answer a question on whether he is going to resign, saying only, "I'll have a lot to say at the appropriate time."

Filed under: Rod Blagojevich
September 11th, 2008
01:45 PM ET
15 years ago

Father: Palin showed grit at early age

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Chuck Heather, Palin's father, says it hasn't settled in yet that his daughter, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is running for vice president."]
WASILLA, Alaska (CNN) - Gov. Sarah Palin's father never imagined that his "little girl" would run for the vice presidency, but he knows his daughter's determination made her a success when others, including himself, expected her to fail.

"I look back on Sarah's perseverance, and whatever she wanted to do, she put her nose to the grindstone, especially in sports," Chuck Heath told CNN in an extensive interview in his Wasilla, Alaska, home. "If she didn't have a certain ability, she worked and worked and worked until she obtained that ability or skill."

Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, surprised the political world when he picked Palin, a first-term governor from Alaska, to be his running mate nearly two weeks ago. The interview with Palin's father will be included in "Sarah Palin Revealed," a documentary that will air on CNN at 9 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday.

Heath, a retired science teacher and coach who now works with the federal Wildlife Services Program, said his daughter started exhibiting her stubborn streak at an early age.

"Sarah, she was something else," he said. "I wasn't mean to her. I was stern with her, but I could seldom bend her if she made up her mind on something."

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Filed under: Sarah Palin