Tags: olmstead | dam | project | boost

Olmstead Dam Project Gets Boost From Government Shutdown Deal

Thursday, 17 Oct 2013 04:37 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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The legislation that unlocked the government stalemate included a provision to increase funding authorization on the Olmstead Dam, a Kentucky project backed by Senate Minority Leader Bill McConnell, and some are calling it the “Kentucky Kickback.”

The bill did not supply any funding for the dam project, but authorized spending to increase from $1.7 billion to $2.9 billion, Bloomberg News reported. Various government officials, including two senators who head a panel that sets funding for water projects, said contracts were close to being canceled that would have cost the government $160 million unless the authorization was passed quickly.

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The budget brouhaha in the last few weeks had put a stop to routine actions like this one, Bloomberg said. But Taxpayers for Common Sense, which speaks out against government waste, called it “parochial pork” and said McConnell “took advantage of his position” to tack it on the bill.

Commenters on the article ranged from maligning all pork – with one pointing out that there was more than just McConnell project added onto this bill – to those who said the dam project would increase economic activity and be well worth it.

“I don't understand all of the negative Pork references. This particular project will generate enough economic activity over the next 100 years to easily pay for itself many multiple times over. It is good spending,” wrote Daniel M. Parker on the story.

Perry Johnson wrote, “The media is killing America. Why not report ALL pork in the Bill? I knew for a fact that this isn't the only pork project in the Bill. So why are these rats only reported this one PORK???”

A Courier-Journal reporter, James Bruggers, has covered the Olmsted project for years and offered a brief history after the Kentucky Kickback articles began hitting the internet. In August, the Corps of Engineers warned that if the spending authorization didn’t come from Congress – which had been “balking” because the project’s expense estimate was increased to $3 billion – then 600 construction jobs would be lost and $80 million would be added to the job cost from delays.

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Related stories:

Costly Olmsted Dam Project Called “Complete Failure”

Conservatives Take Aim at $50 Billion Pork-Laden Sandy Aid Bill

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