Bond has key role in federal highway funding

Saturday, December 14, 2002

It's an exciting time in Missouri transportation history -- or, at least, it has the potential to be.

U.S. Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri will chair the Senate subcommittee charged with writing a bill to distribute up to $33 billion in federal transportation dollars over six years to the states. Ostensibly, his powerful role on the committee could swing a few more dollars Missouri's way.

To that end, Bond made six stops across the state, including one last week in Cape Girardeau. He was asking residents their opinions on spending federal transportation dollars. But, more importantly, he was explaining the process of distributing those federal dollars.

There was lots of input from residents, but it wasn't particularly useful for writing the nation's transportation spending legislation. Bond spokesman Ernie Blazar said the senator primarily was trying to "educate people as to what the responsibilities are and what his role is and what it is not."

"Folks think Kit Bond is going to re-pave every driveway in the state," he said. "As much as Senator Bond would like to do that, he doesn't have the power nor the resources."

This becomes obvious when one considers that 99 other senators are committed to getting money for their own states.

However, it is an honor to have a senior senator from Missouri in such a position, and residents should pay attention to and be educated about the highway-funding process he's overseeing.

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