Consequently, Hayward said he is not worried that the Delaware
Department of Transportation will be unable to begin design of
the 'flyover' bridge to better link Interstate 95 and Delaware 1
in the vicinity of Christiana Mall and to start building a new
bridge over the Indian River Inlet in saltwater Sussex County.
would provide $5 million apiece for those projects during the
coming fiscal year under provisions of the controversial fiscal
2005 transportation construction bill which is about to be
hammered out by a House-Senate conference committee. Both
Delaware projects are multi-year ventures and qualify for
continuing federal financing.
March President Bush issued an unequivocal challenge to the U.S.
House of Representatives to either cut down the annual spending
authorization to an amount he deems more appropriate or risk its
being the object of his first rejection of enacted legislation.
apparently figured that was a bluff and decided to call him on
it. It passed, by a wide margin, a measure with a $256 billion
price tag. That was considerably less than the $318 billion
measure the Senate passed in February, but still higher than the
$256 billion ceiling the President set.
in both chambers -- 357 to 75 in the House and 76 to 2 in the
Senate -- were well in excess of the two-thirds margin required
to override a veto. But Hayward doesn't think it will come to
to believe the Republican White House is going to find it very
difficult to veto a bill in a year when the President is trying
to get re-elected," he said. Job creation and the lack thereof
already is regarded as the top domestic campaign issue and
highway construction is a major employment generator. Moreover,
Hayward added, even Republican lawmakers are not likely to
jeopardize their own re-election prospects by not voting to
override should a veto actually materialize.
Delaware's senators, Joseph Biden and Thomas Carper, both
Democrats, voted in favor of the Senate version of the bill.
Congressman Michael Castle voted against the House version.
Castle said he continues to support but Delaware projects and
will "continue my efforts to
ensure they are included in the final conference report."
The conference committee will resolve the differences between
the two measures.
addition to the two large Delaware projects, which are
'earmarked' in the House version, the bills provide omnibus
allotments to be spent more or less at the discretion of state
officials. Delaware's slice of that pie would be about $130
million in the Senate version or between $126 million and $128
million in the House version. Both sums would top the $120
million received in the current fiscal year. The federal fiscal
year begins Oct. 1.
legislative parlance, an 'earmark' is a designation of money for
a specific project. It is an allegation that many of the nearly
3,000 'earmarks' in the pending legislation are 'pork' that is
the nub of the controversy over whether it is too generous.
'Pork', another piece of jargon, means a project intended to
appeal to voters or personally favored by a legislator, but
holding relatively little benefit for the general public.
with a nod toward their local constituencies, some lawmakers
have objected to the formulas used to decide how much of an
allocation the various states receive relative to the amount of
money they collect in federal gasoline tax. Castle said his
position is that all highway spending should be financed by the
gasoline tax and not general tax revenue because "that would
lead to deficit spending.:
as of now, no announced timetable for the House and Senate
conferees to reconcile differences between the two versions and
to come up with a final one, which will have to be enacted by
both chambers before anything is sent up Pennsylvania Avenue to
the President's desk. Hayward said he is hopefully, the issue is
resolved before July 1, the start of Delaware's fiscal year.