Tim Pawlenty Supported Obama Calls for High Speed Rail

Posted: Jun 17, 2011 11:32 AM

Tim Pawlenty supports high-speed rail? Funded by the federal government? He did in 2009.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty was one of eight Midwestern governors to urge Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to make the Midwestern Regional Rail Initiative (MWRRI) a top priority in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The act, which includes a last-minute $8 billion for high-speed rails, would create a high-speed passenger rail that links Minneapolis and Chicago; a trip by rail between the cities would take about five and half hours.

“As you complete your strategic plan to improve and deploy high-speed passenger rail systems in the United States, as mandated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA),” the letter from the governors reads, “we are pleased to share with you the unique qualities of our regional initiative and the reasons we believe projects in these corridors should be given top priority for high-speed passenger rail funding.”

On top of that, Pawlenty claimed during a 2009 interview with Public International Radio he, along with the majority of Republicans, support a form of stimulus so long as it is focused on the right projects.

I support, and most Republicans support, a stimulus bill, we just think this one was a missed opportunity and misguided in the sense that it should have focused on bread-and-butter things that have proven to be stimulative, like tax cuts that put money in people’s pockets right away. Or bread-and-butter infrastructure projects like roads and bridges. This thing has wandered into a meandering financial buffet of spending across all kinds of categories, many of which are not stimulative.

To be fair, state governors at the time of the stimulus didn't feel they had a choice about receiving stimulus funds, however, for Pawlenty to support big government spending "on the right projects" still gives the federal government a big role in the economy and manipulatin of the market, which is concerning. Pawlenty is correct when he says the stimulus package wasn't focused on "shovel ready jobs" and funded ridiculous things like shrimp running on a treadmill, but waste of taxpayer money is inevitable when government has too much control of the economy.