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“Greasing the Wheels”


New Report Highlights the Effect of Campaign Giving on Transportation Policy

What: PRESS CONFERENCE and release of Greasing the Wheels: the Crossroads of Campaign Money and Transportation Policy, a groundbreaking TexPIRG report looking at the influence of campaign giving on transportation funding decisions at the state and federal level.

Who: Melissa Cubria, Advocate, Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG)
Hank Gilbert, board member of Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom (Texas TURF)
Terri Hall, founder and Executive Director of Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom (Texas TURF)

Where: South Steps of the Capitol—AUSTIN

When: Thursday, November 12th at 11am

For more information contact: Melissa Cubria, Advocate, TexPIRG
Office: 512.479.7287
Cell: 773.615.4352
mcubria@texpirg.org

Background:

AUSTIN, – The nation has 73,000 crumbling bridges, but year after year startlingly few federal transportation dollars go to fixing them.

Instead, millions are spent on new highways and other infrastructure.

At the same time, corporations that build highways or conduct other business related to new roads, and the trade groups who represent them, are also spending millions… with hefty contributions to the campaign coffers of state and federal officials.

In 2008, for example, just a few months after the tragic Minneapolis bridge collapse which killed 13 and sparked alarm and outrage across the country, Congress directed only 74 of the 704 highway projects earmarked in the transportation appropriations bill to repair or maintain a bridge , tunnel, or overpass.

That same year, highway construction corporations and trade groups contributed $133 million to state and federal candidates nationwide.

Here in Texas, there are 2,186 bridges that the U.S. Department of Transportation has deemed “structurally deficient.” But in 2008, while 31 transportation earmarks were approved, totaling $15,518,000, only 2 were bridge repair projects.

That same year, highway construction interests contributed an astonishing $12,933,582 to state and federal campaigns in Texas

For the first time ever, details of which legislator and which state got which transportation appropriations earmarks are available for public scrutiny.

Greasing the Wheels: the Crossroads of Campaign Money and Transportation Policy report, to be released on Nov. 12 by TexPIRG, examines that data and compares it to the campaign contributions from highway construction-related corporations and trade groups.

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