It's been a few years since Congressional "earmarks" were eliminated from federal transportation spending. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says it's time to bring them back.
Earmarks have a bad name — remember the "bridge to nowhere," a plan to spend nearly $400 million on a bridge to an island in Alaska with 50 residents?
Durbin says earmarks should have been reformed, not eliminated. He says legislators are in touch with the transportation needs of their districts and states.
"To think that somebody sitting at a desk in Washington, D.C. can appreciate the significance of a local transportation project for the economy, for businesses and creating jobs, I think members of Congress in both parties, as well as senators, can make a valuable input," he says.
Durbin says allowing some form of earmarks would improve working relationships in Congress.
"You know, it creates a much better and more positive feeling," Durbin says. "We've just drifted apart because of this so-called Tea Party reform."
The current federal transportation spending plan is set to expire later this year.