Rep. Coble talks about $4.5 million in earmarks

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Staff report
More than $4.5 million has been approved for six projects in the 6th District because of earmarks authored by U.S. Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC). Congressman Coble said these federal funds will be used to create jobs, improve transportation and support public health and safety. The Coble earmarks were contained in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama Wednesday. Rep. Coble voted against the spending package when it was approved by the House.
“I would be in favor of continued earmark reform,” Coble said, “but as long as earmarks remain a part of the legislative funding process, I would be doing a disservice to the citizens of the 6th District by not seeking funding for worthwhile projects.
“All of our requests were thoroughly vetted, examined and requested through the regular legislative process in the light of day for anyone to see. I also promised anyone who asked that our office would release any requests that were approved, and we are fulfilling that pledge today.”
Rep. Coble said the following earmarks were contained in the bill signed into law:
– $855,000 for the Burlington-Alamance County Regional Airport to extend its runway an additional 1,500 feet to 6,400 feet
– $2,280,000 for the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor Initiative to double-track three rail sections from Charlotte to Greensboro
– $500,000 to convert the Alamance County emergency communications system from its current VHF system to an 800 MHz communications system
– $350,000 to enhance the communications system for the North Carolina Highway Patrol Troop D Headquarters in Greensboro
– $427,500 for the widening of Mebane Street from Huffman Mill Road to Chapel Hill Road in Burlington
– $95,000 to complete the last 1.1 miles of walking, biking and jogging trails of the High Point Greenway Project
– Rep. Coble said he also cosponsored four other requests that were sponsored by other members of the North Carolina congressional delegation. Those included:
– $1,140,000 for the Greensboro Maintenance/Operations/Administration Transit Facility
– $250,000 for a math program at UNCG
– $238,000 for a literacy program at UNCG
– $100,000 for the National Textile Center and the Textile/Clothing Technology Corporation Center in Raleigh
“I will take a backseat to no one when it comes to being a fiscal conservative,” Coble said, “and I think my voting record will back that up. “The name ‘earmarks’ has gotten a bad reputation because of the nefarious and unethical actions of a handful of elected officials and lobbyists ń some of whom are sitting in prisons today.
I would wholeheartedly endorse further earmark reform to make the process even more transparent and explainable to the public. I will also continue to sponsor funding requests for worthy projects in the 6th District.”