Capitol Words a project of the Sunlight Foundation

  • and

Occurrences over time

embed
  • Embed Dark
  • Embed Light
  1. '96
  2. '98
  3. '00
  4. '02
  5. '04
  6. '06
  7. '08
  8. '10
  9. '12
  10. '14

Mentioned most often by

Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Approving The Renewal Of Import Restrictions Contained In The Burmese Freedom And Democracy Act Of 2003—Motion To Proceed September 14, 2011
Tom Coburn, R-OK
"Kalanianaole Highway, Ka’lwi Scenic Shoreline Trail— Federal Transportation enhancement funds were used to intervene in a local land use dispute in Hawaii. A decades long dispute over the preservation of Hawaiian shoreline versus local developmental interests was assisted by the Department of Transportation, which used $11 million in enhancement funds to acquire land for conservation purposes, effectively meddling in the local land use. In the mean time, 45 percent of Hawaii’s bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Antique bike collections—The University of California Davis received a transportation enhancement grant of $440,000 to purchase 60 unique antique bikes for its Bicycle Museum Collection. Shrine to Tennessee state history costs federal government $23 million— Nashville, Tennessee received $23 million in federal enhancement funding to construct its bicentennial ode to Tennessee state history. The project included the building of “a 1,400-foot Wall of History etched with historic events from the state’s first two centuries, 31 fountains that each represent one of the state’s rivers, and a 200-foot granite state map.” The only thing more egregious than federal funds used for a clearly state interest, is that 20 percent of Tennessee Bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. ARTwalk—ARTwalk is tagged as a unique outdoor experience that constructs pathways between shopping areas, galleries, and museums in Rochester, Vermont. The project used $234,000 in federal enhancement dollars to build the artsy outdoor museum, while 861 of Vermont’s bridges remain either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Old Roman Bath House Renovation—$160,000 worth of enhancement funding was used in Berkeley, West Virginia for the renovation of the oldest building in town, an Old Roman Bath House. While local residents may be interested in visiting a bath house where George Washington used to frequent, federal taxpayers may find the connection to critical infrastructure more puzzling. Moreover, 36 percent of West Virginia’s bridges remain structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Saddletree Factory Renovation—The Ben Schroeder Saddle Tree Factory, a historical factory in Madison, Indiana, received transportation enhancement funding for historical preservation purposes because the factory used to make Saddletrees, the foundation of a saddle. 21.5 percent of Indiana’s bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Toledo Harbor Lighthouse—The Toledo Harbor Lighthouse in Toledo, Ohio, protected by the “phantom” officer Frank, will receive a $500,000 enhancement grant to restore windows, doors, bricks, and shutters. This grant will not only help to restore the facade of the historical lighthouse, but also carry on the legendary ghosts of the haunted lighthouse. Unfortunately, “phantom” officer Frank will not be able to protect Ohio drivers from the 6,598 bridges that are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Critter Crossing—The Monkton, Vermont Conservation Commission received $150,000 in federal grant money to build a—critter crossing, to save the lives of thousands of migrating salamanders and other amphibians that would otherwise be slaughtered by vehicle traffic on a major roadway. Thousands of blue- and yellow-spotted salamanders, frogs, and other amphibians spend the winter months in the rocky uplands near Monkton, but must return to low-lying wetlands in order to reproduce. To travel between these two areas, the salamanders must cross the heavily-traveled Monkton-Vergennes Road. While some conservationists have celebrated the project, others remain skeptical. “I certainly respect all species. However, I don’t see the need to pay $150,000 for a salamander crossing”, read one email reportedly sent to the Burlington [Vermont] Free Press newspaper. “I realize there are a lot of other stupid things my tax dollars go toward, but this one is near the top of the list.” Maybe the local communities will prevent the critters from crossing one of the 861 bridges that are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. North Carolina Transportation Museum Spencer, North Carolina—The North Carolina Transportation Museum has received over 11 million to renovate and showcase steam locomotive artifacts. As of 2010, North Carolina has nearly 5000 bridges that are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Massachusetts bike and pedestrian allotted millions, but remain unspent—Massachusetts has received $135 million in federal funds for bike and pedestrian projects since 1991, of which it has spent little more than $51 million, according to The Boston Globe. That means nearly two-thirds of the funds provided in the last two decades by Congress to the state for such projects remain unspent. Perhaps Massachusetts would like to use their unspent funds to work on their 2,548 bridges that are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Nevada spending millions of federal transportation dollars to make Vegas highways beautiful—In 2008, Nevada received its transportation enhancement allotment of $6,287,466. They decided to spend it in a variety of ways, a few million went to biking facilities and trails, a few million went to welcome centers and interpretive centers. $498,750 even went for “decorative rocks, native plants, some pavement graphics, a few walls, and some great big granite boulders” to beautify an interchange to Las Vegas’ 215 Beltway. A couple miles down the highway, N-DOT beautified another interchange with “striping in the rocks and some native plants.” That project has cost $319,163 so far this year. The people of Nevada might have been able to think of some better things to spend that money on. One local who uses the interchange frequently was not impressed by the expensive beautification project. “I’m busy watching where I’m going. I’m not looking at landscape improvements and stamped concrete.” Unfortunately, there is little that local officials can do to re-direct the money to better uses. “We applied for the federal enhancement dollars and those federal enhancement dollars can only be used for landscaping and pedestrian type improvements,” explains the top civil engineer at the Clark County Public Works Traffic Management Division. The N-DOT deputy director for southern Nevada is just as frustrated as many citizens that federal restrictions prohibit states from directing money where it is really needed. “It’s really getting out of hand to where these pots of money have these constraints associated with them and you can’t spend money where you want to.” These restrictions sometimes leave states no choice but to spend money on frivolous projects or lose it entirely. The deputy director notes, “if N-DOT doesn’t spend that money and employ workers in Nevada, another state is gonna have that money up for grabs.” Washington, DC receives Transportation Enhancement grants for murals and valet bikes—Washington, DC received nearly $2 million in transportation enhancement grants in Fiscal Year 2010, ranging from $50,000 to $579,000. These grants include items such as the stabilization of historic murals and a grant for bicycle parking and valet services, along with the creation of a “Room to Breathe” poster. The $2 million allotment would be much better used for bridge repair, as 158 of the 244 bridges in the District are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Railroad Caboose Relocation and Renovation—The Princeton Railroad Museum received a $78,280 transportation enhancement grant to help pay for the relocation of a historic train caboose to be displayed and restored. Texas Highway Rest Stops—The Texas Department of Transportation uses a substantial amount of their required transportation enhancement spending to build highway rest areas. Texas plans to spend $262 million to build or overhaul roadside stops along its highways, with a majority of the funds coming from enhancement grants. However, some residents question the construction of rest stops in such close proximity to other commercial areas, leading one local resident to surmise about the $10 million Salado rest area, “I think $10 million would have made a nice third lane in a lot of spots … It’s pretty spectacular for a rest area, for, I guess, $2 million worth … $10 million? That’s a lot of money.” Additionally, the Texas Department of Transportation spent $16.2 million in enhancement funding on a Battleship Texas restoration project. California Sculpture Competition—Federal transportation enhancement dollars were used as prize money for an art competition to find a sculpture fitting to place in a parking lot for a Laguna Beach, California Friday Film Series event. Merchant and Drovers Tavern Museum—The Merchants and Drovers Tavern Museum in Union County, New Jersey received a $210,790 transportation enhancement grant to create a museum on the second floor of the recently renovated building. The Merchants and Drovers Tavern Museum touts its amenities by letting visitors “experience the hospitality of the 1820s” and “quench his thirst in the taproom, sit for a while in the parlor or, perhaps, try a bed for size at this `hands-on’ museum.” Meanwhile, visitors should also be wary of driving over any New Jersey bridges on the way to the museum, as 35 percent of them are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Museum uses transportation funds for its Heating and Air Conditioning system—The Sayre Historical Society Museum in Bradford County, Pennsylvania received a transportation enhancement grant of $74,704 for the “Sayre Historical Society RR Museum Heating and AC project.” You read that correctly, American gas taxes are being directed towards heating and air installation. War of 1812, Bladensburg, Maryland excavation—Enhancement funding was used to excavate several historical buildings in Bladensburg, Maryland to study the “transportation history” of the area. Bladensburg was used for troop movements during the War of 1812, as well as being a transportation hub during early America. Funding for a Transportation Exhibit—$300,000 in federal money will pay for a new exhibit on the history of transportation at a local museum in Missouri. The fresh display at the St. Charles County Heritage museum will explain the influence of rivers, railroads, roads, and trails in the region over the years. The grant application highlights how “The County and its residents have had to rely on multiple forms of transportation and as technology changed, the area had to adapt to the changing transportation methods/patterns.” Not everyone in the community agrees the federal government should fund this type of project. A county executive said, “It’s the kind of thing the federal government can’t afford to do.” Other officials however have a different perspective on the federal funding. The county parks director explained how “the $300,000 grant is `a pretty insignificant amount of money compared to that total pool’ of federal transportation spending.” Maybe a more significant number should be 7,021, the number of Missouri bridges that are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Iowa town receives new entrance sign—Fairfield, Iowa used $40,800 in transportation enhancement funds to upgrade its “Welcome to Fairfield” sign. It is likely that Iowans would welcome their transportation funds upgrading their bridges, as Iowa ranks 3rd in bridge deficiency rates in America. Michigan Receives Transportation funds to plant flowers and rehabilitate an engine house—In 2010, the Michigan awarded $5 million in federal transportation enhancement grants to various projects including reconstructing cobblestone roads, purchasing and installing bicycle racks, and “streetscaping” a downtown street in Bridgetown, Michigan with “decorative sidewalk treatments, street trees, perennial flowers and other decorative plantings, planters, and ornamental street lighting.” One grant awarded $336,490 to rehabilitate the historic Quincy and Torch Lake Railroad Engine House while another grant awarded $1,490,280 to the Detroit Science Center to construct an exhibit depicting “how roads, tunnels and bridges are constructed.” Transportation Funding used to replace unaesthetic fencing around Oklahoma Capitol Oil Derricks—The Oklahoma Department of Central Services, the controller of Capitol Grounds, received $216,000 in transportation enhancement funding to replace fencing around active oil wells on Lincoln Boulevard with a more aesthetically pleasing form of fencing. Unfortunately while Capitol Complex may look better, Oklahoma bridge deficiency rates remain 2nd in the United States. Over $150,000 in Gasoline Taxes directed towards making brochures—Over the last 10 years, federal transportation enhancement grants have been used to produce brochures for various purposes including monuments paths, scenic trails, and bicycle safety. The State of Kansas even received a federal grant to install and replace their brochure display cases at SRA. Enhancement funds used to help construct replica of historical schooner—In 2001, Burlington, Vermont received a $20,000 grant to subsidize the building a full scale replica of the 1862-class sailing canal boat, the Louis McClure. Crandall Farm Restoration project—Washington County, Rhode Island received a $120,000 transportation enhancement grant for renovation of Crandall Farm. The project consisted of renovating the 1870 house on the farm into a welcome center and educational tool for the traveling public. South Carolina uses gas taxes to purchase $15,000 “Welcome Signs”—Orangeburg County, South Carolina received a $34,965 transportation enhancement grant o help purchase three signs at a cost of $44,500, or $14,833 per sign. Unfortunately, South Carolina bridges are not as welcoming, as 22 percent of them are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The State of Michigan receives nearly $100,000 to celebrate mysterious centennial—In 2004, Michigan received a $99,540 transportation enhancement grant for publications, historical commemorative items, and displays for a “centennial celebration.” The only thing more puzzling than how these activities are related to transportation is that the centennial for Michigan Statehood occurred in 1937."
Honoring Margaret Allis July 14, 2011
Tom Marino, R-PA
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor of my constituent, Mrs. Margaret Allis, on her 90th birthday. Margaret V. Allis was born on August 2, 1921 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Margaret graduated from White Sulphur Springs High School. After graduation Margaret traveled with her family to California before coming back east and settling in Sayre, Pennsylvania."
In Honor Of Woodrow Wilson High School Celebrating Its 80Th Anniversary March 30, 2009
Pete Sessions, R-TX
"Since its founding, Woodrow has always been a special part of Dallas. This historic high school was designed by famed Dallas architect Mark Lemmon. To honor its namesake, the school’s cornerstone included a piece of wedding cake from Jesse Wilson Sayre, President Woodrow Wilson’s daughter. Over the course of its history, Woodrow has educated thousands of bright individuals, nurturing their talent while providing them with a wonderful learning environment as well as many fond memories. In 2006 and 2008, Woodrow made it to Newsweek’s list of America’s Top Public High Schools."
Earmark Declaration February 25, 2009
Frank Lucas, R-OK
"Address of Requesting Entity: 108 S. 3rd St, Sayre, Oklahoma, USA"
Honoring Steve Moore September 25, 2007
Dan Boren, D-OK
"I think his list of civic activities, along with the State and national recognition given to OG&E, showed that Steve Moore truly cared for his employees, for his customers, and, above all else, his fellow Oklahomans. It was this home-grown Okie compassion that will make the Sayre-born and Altus-raised son of Oklahoma missed by us all."

Popularity by state

Popularity by party