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Bartlett releases 'earmark' list

Capito and Shuster have not

June 20, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

TRI-STATE - U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., on Tuesday released his list of fiscal year 2008 pet-project requests - $322.51 million worth - after The Herald-Mail asked for it.

"Earmarks," as Congress members' budget requests are known, have been debate fodder lately, particularly if they should be made public before they are approved.

In a survey posted online Tuesday, CNN asked the offices of all 435 House members for a list of earmarks proposed for fiscal year 2008, which begins Oct. 1.

Thirty-one offices provided lists, 68 declined and the rest didn't respond either at all or after saying they would, CNN reported.

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The Herald-Mail followed up on the survey by asking the offices of its three local House members - Bartlett, U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., - for their earmark lists.

Capito will release her list within the next few days, her press secretary, Jordan Stoick, said.

Shuster will not. "Until they actually enter legislation, we don't know what happens ...," said his press secretary, Jeff Urbanchuk. "Anything before that is premature."

CNN listed Bartlett as refusing to reveal his request list.

On Tuesday, though, Bartlett's press secretary, Lisa Wright, told The Herald-Mail that releasing the list was "under active consideration."

Eventually, his office sent a copy of the list to The Herald-Mail and posted a copy on his Web site, along with a statement.

"I am proud of my requests," Bartlett said in the statement. "In previous years, I followed the established procedure and waited until appropriations bills were finalized to distribute news releases with my lists of requests that received funding.

"With greater public interest and the support of Republicans to reform the Congressional budget process, I am releasing the requests for funding that I have submitted."

Wright said that it had been considered, under an unwritten rule, bad form to reveal funding requests until they were approved. Now, "there's been a collective decision that it's OK" to give out the information, she said.

Stoick said earmark abuses by former U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., and attention by watchdog groups have changed how the practice is seen. "Everything came to a head last year," Stoick said.

Bartlett's requests are in two groups.

Thirty-two military-related requests total $277.05 million. The largest request - $87 million - is for "operationally responsive space." Wright couldn't explain what that meant Tuesday afternoon.

Bartlett's nondefense list of 18 items, including two that would directly benefit Washington County, totals $45.46 million.

Bartlett seeks Dual-Edgewood money

Among the 50 pet-project federal funding requests that U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., made for fiscal year 2008 is $4.8 million for the improvement of Dual Highway and Edgewood Drive.

The state's cost estimate of the project recently rose from $11.2 million to $14.4 million. The state, county and city have talked about how they will split the cost.

Before the cost went up, they agreed to a split of 50 percent state, 30 percent county and 20 percent city.

Washington County Administrator Gregory Murray said Tuesday he didn't know about Bartlett's funding request or who asked him for it.

Last week, during a Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce luncheon, a chamber representative noted that the county received no money in the last federal transportation bill.

Bartlett urged county officials to let him know what they need.

Murray said Tuesday that the county has worked with state officials on funding, but never officially asked Bartlett to seek money for the Dual-Edgewood project. One reason is that federal money for the project might mean less federal money for the state elsewhere, he said.

The chamber and the Greater Hagerstown Committee have been "putting out some feelers" and planned to make a formal request to Bartlett next year, Murray said.




Bartlett's list of 'earmarks'



Below are some of the fiscal year 2008 federal funding requests, or "earmarks," from U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md. Bartlett's office released the list Tuesday after The Herald-Mail asked for it. His office previously refused to give the list to CNN.

Defense ($277.05 million)

Operationally responsive space, $87 million

Ballistic trajectory extended range munition, $25 million

Advanced Surface Radar Technologies, $14.5 million

C420 Powered Air-Purifying Respirator Kits, $12 million

Nondefense ($45.46 million)

U.S. 40 at Edgewood Drive improvement, $4.8 million

Big Slackwater reconstruction, C&O Canal National Historical Park, $200,000

I-270/Md. 85 upgrade in Frederick County, $10 million

I-70 upgrade of 5.3 miles in Frederick County, $10 million

Md. Institute for Dexterous Space Robotics, $3.5 million

Restoration of Catoctin Aqueduct, $450,000

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