Wyoming Senator Says Rural Areas Disfavored in Transportation Bill

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 05:24 PM

(Jackie Yamanaka, Yellowstone Public Radio) Where you stand depends on where you sit.  And so  Republican Senator John Barrasso says he's concerned with the share urban projects will get in the next federal transportation bill -- even though the state has long benefited from federal highway formulas per Wyomingite.

The White House's "Sustainable Communities" initiative has caught Barrasso's eye, and his ire. Barrasso says the affordable housing and transit program favors larger metropolitan regions areas over places like his spread-out home state. "People in rural communities are paying for the big cities' mass transit, instead of just for our roads," he tells Yellowstone Public Radio.

The story, here. Transcript after the jump.

But as Pro Publica and others have reported, Wyoming was given $1,519 per capita in Stimulus funding, and historically has done well in federal highway funding, because formulas favor "states with lots of roads and few people."

Barrasso: "I want to make sure we continue to keep the focus on these issue affecting rural America.  We're always looking to see how money is moved to the big cities, especially when that comes at the expense of the states of Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, the Rocky Mountain West. We are very quick to jump on that and say 'wait a second this isn't fair we want to make sure our communities are taken care of...We know that gasoline taxes go for more than just highways, and people in rural communities are paying for the big cities mass transit, instead of just for our roads."


Comments [3]

Martin L.

I don't see how Wyoming can complain. According to the Tax Foundation, Wyoming has received more Federal funding than it has paid in taxes for the last 15 years, so it seems quite fair that the cities that generate the income that has been paying for Wyoming's roads for the last 15 years get to benefit from their own tax dollars in terms of transportation infrastructure.

Jul. 20 2010 09:20 PM
Walter Sobchak

There's always one rural politician who complains about urban spending, I guess it's just Barrasso's turn.

Someone should remind him that, for example, the New York Metropolitan Area is home to about 20 million people and has a GDP of about $1.1 trillion, while Wyoming has less than 500,000 people and a GDP of $27 billion.

It must be tough to stomach, Senator, but even most medium-sized cities around the country are more important than your entire state.

Jul. 20 2010 08:05 PM
Fred M.

Fine. Let's just peg federal transportation funding to population. Simple, fair, uncontroversial.

Jul. 20 2010 05:47 PM

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