Lawmakers lament 'incomplete' rail plan

Lawmakers lament 'incomplete' rail plan

April 25th, 2009 by Matt Wilson in News

Most Republicans say the Obama administration's $787 billion stimulus package went too far. But GOP lawmakers backing a bullet train between Atlanta and Chattanooga said the White House didn't go far enough in its high-speed rail initiative in the stimulus plan.

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Chattanooga, suggested that the high-speed rail initiative should have included $50 billion, rather than $8 billion, to really encourage the next generation of trains.

"We need to throw the ball deep," Rep. Wamp said.

State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, chairman of the Georgia Senate Transportation Committee, said he was "disappointed" in the White House plan and called the initiative "incomplete."

A proposed route between Atlanta and Chattanooga considered for a magnetic levitation train was not included in the Obama administration plans.

Existing Amtrak routes through Atlanta on the East Coast and on the Crescent City line from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans were on the list of targeted projects.

"If we want to grow the economy and grow business in Georgia, we need to grow all of our rail lines," Sen. Mullis said. "Out of $8 billion, we surely could have used more funds for one of the largest transit states in the U.S."

"vote of no confidence" on Alexander?

The Conservative Women's Action Network, a Franklin, Tenn.-based group "working to return our Party to fiscal restraint, small government and individual accountability/responsibility," has started a petition for a "vote of no confidence" on Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

"The senator's campaign promises to vote conservatively are all too often at odds with an actual voting record that increased federal spending and expansion of massive social programs that are totally out of line with the United States Constitution," the petition reads.

The group reports on its Web site that it also has sent a copy of the Constitution and a copy of George Orwell's "1984" to Sen. Alexander's office.

Sen. Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., in October voted in favor of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program. Each also voted in February against the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Corker touts "hill" story

Sen. Corker has posted on his Web site the text of a story from The Hill, a Capitol newspaper, that calls attention to an advertisement from his 2006 Senate campaign that he denounced at the time.

"Corker came to the Senate aided by a controversial National Republican Senatorial Committee-funded advertisement that seemed to link his opponent, then-Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., to a party at the Playboy Mansion," the story states.

But the story, titled "Corker steps into spotlight for GOP," goes on to state that Sen. Corker " has built a reputation as a calm conciliator, not a partisan bomb-thrower."

twitter updates

State Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, Sunday: "think Miley/Hannah is the worst disguised dual identity since Clark/Superman"

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., GOP candidate for governor, Monday: "Today will complete 17 day, 4000 mile, 27 city/towns, 18 county tour of Tennessee. Momentum is with our campaign. GOP is ready. So am I !!!"

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, GOP candidate for governor, Monday: "Great event tonight in Maryville, and a great visit with friends at the Blount County Courthouse earlier."

Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons, GOP candidate for governor, Tuesday: "Happy to add Laura Roberts onto our staff as Middle Tennessee political director."

Nashville businessman Ward Cammack, Democratic candidate for governor, Wednesday: "Join our Earth Day Celebration today at LeQuire Gallery on Charlotte Pike. Begins at 5:30."

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, GOP candidate for governor, Thursday: "Fellowship and prayer with ldrs from all over state this AM at TN Prayer Breakfast. Looking 4ward to seeing friends in Roane county 2nite."

Former state Rep. Kim McMillan, D-Clarksville, Democratic candidate for governor, Friday: "Breakfast with Rep. Butch Borchert and folks at the Paris Fish Fry this morning, and then on to the parade this afternoon"