Sunday, August 24, 2008

Coleman's out-of-touch record: transportation

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by: Jeff Rosenberg

This is the fourth in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm Coleman's record on the issues. Articles in the series will be collected here. All data in this series comes from CQ Weekly.

Does Norm "W" Coleman hate transportation? I know, it seems unlikely. But how else do you account for some of these votes? He doesn't seem to be objecting to the size of the transportation bill, so what's the problem? Maybe he just doesn't want to spend money on transportation at all. Check out his voting record below:


In Norm's first year in the Senate, he voted to privatize core air traffic control functions, system specialists and maintenance of systems and flight service stations. We saw how well privatization worked for TSA; do you want your safety outsourced to corporations?


Norm voted AGAINST the Surface Transportation bill that would authorize $318 billion in federal aid for highways, highway safety programs and transit programs over six years. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 14)

So was the problem the cost of the bill? Not likely. He also voted AGAINST an amendment to reduce the total cost of the surface transportation measure from $318 billion to $256 billion, to match the president's fiscal 2005 budget request. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 13) What exactly does Norm want? the only conclusion I can make is that he doesn't want to spend any money on transportation.


Norm voted an amendment that would increase revenue by $13.8 billion and use it to increase spending for surface transportation projects. It also would add a section designating $34.7 billion for highways in fiscal 2006 and $7.1 billion for public transit. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 71)

But once again, spending doesn't seem to be the issue. He also voted AGAINST an amendment would reduce funding for certain programs by $10.7 billion. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 124) So, what WILL he vote for?

Of course, as long as we have transportation, Norm doesn't want it to be environmentally friendly. He voted AGAINST an amendment that would mandate phased increases in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The standard would gradually increase to 40 miles per gallon by model year 2016. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 157)


To be fair, I report both sides of the story. Norm voted FOR an amendment to increase the obligation limitation for the Highway Trust Fund by $1 billion to repair aging bridges. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 329) Of course, right after the I-35W bridge collapse, you'd hope he would finally start taking our safety more seriously than he did in 2003.

The bottom line: Norm "W" Coleman has consistently voted against funding for transportation infrastructure. That's not even considering transportation security. Next week, I'll expose just how often Norm voted against improving security aboard planes, transit, and cargo ships.

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