Rep. Young is top recipient of campaign funds from road lobby

Posted: Sunday, September 28, 2003

ANCHORAGE - Alaska Rep. Don Young received more money from the highway and road-building lobby for his congressional campaigns than any other member of Congress over a six-year period.

Young received $314,000 from groups and individuals in the road lobby - $100,000 more than anyone else got, according to a new report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, which analyzed 1997-2002 campaign contributions.

Young, as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is the House's chief author of the next six-year transportation bill. He has proposed increasing transportation spending by about 60 percent, which he would raise, in part, by increasing the tax on gasoline.

Young's spokesman, Steve Hansen, said he didn't know if the report's figures were correct, but he disagreed with at least part of its premise.

The report contends that the highway lobby wrote campaign checks as part of an effort to ensure that the national transportation bill will spend more on roads, instead of mass transit, and will weaken environmental laws.

Hansen said the report's claim that mass transit will get less is "totally false."

Young has said he favors spending for mass transit, in part because it eases road congestion, and that his bill will include money for trails and other "transportation enhancements" included in past transportation bills.

He also has said he wants to streamline the government permitting process so that big projects like runways and freeways can be constructed more quickly.

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