The Corner

Romney Pushed for Federal Funds for Massachusetts

While Mitt Romney has routinely criticized Rick Santorum for his earmark requests, it turns out he pushed hard for some federal funding to the Bay State during his tenure as governor. From a 2003 Boston Globe piece:

Worried that Massachusetts won’t get as much federal transportation funding as in years past, the state’s biggest construction companies, road builders, and general contractors recently threw a fund-raiser for the most influential member of Congress on transportation issues.

[…] So the contractors lavished attention on Don Young, the Alaska Republican who is chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

The luncheon at the Seaport Hotel on Oct. 4, attended by Governor Mitt Romney, netted more than $50,000 for Young, who was treated to a private tour of the Big Dig by all the state’s top transportation officials in an effort to show the results of investments in the region’s infrastructure.

As a Republican in Republican-dominated Washington, Romney has taken a lead in lobbying for more transportation funds for Massachusetts. He has befriended Young and has met with fellow Republicans in Washington, trying to make the case that Massachusetts desperately needs more federal funds for transportation infrastructure beyond the Big Dig, said Cindy Gillespie, Romney’s chief of federal relations. 

UPDATE: “Every state budget in the country is dependent on federal funding, and every governor in the country makes requests for funding, but governors do not get to decide how Congress appropriates money. Earmarks were created by Congress, and abuses in the system by individuals like Sen. Santorum are among the reasons why Washington has a spending problem. Gov. Romney supports a permanent ban on earmarks, Sen. Santorum wants more ‘Bridges to Nowhere,’” e-mails Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul.

Santorum has not called for a ban on earmarks, but said in January that “when earmarks got abusive, that we should end them.”

A Romney aide also pointed out that for the bulk of Romney’s tenure as governor, 2003 to 2005, Massachusetts was a “donor state,” meaning the state sent more tax dollars to the federal government than it received back in federal funding. (2006 was not included in the study done by the Tax Foundation.) In those same years, Pennsylvania was receiving more federal tax dollars than they were sending, although for most of Santorum’s career in the senate, Pennsylvania was also a donor state. 

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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