Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana was a congressman when President Obama took office and he led the fight against the 2009 economic stimulus package, saying it wouldn’t create any jobs and would “do more harm than good.” But now he’s taking credit for a rail project funded by that same bill.
“I say let’s blow the horn, let’s get the Gateway open and be on the way to a more prosperous Indiana,” Pence proclaimed at the Hammond-Whiting Amtrak station.
The $71.4 million project will cut delays at region rail crossings by 70 hours a year, shave an hour off Amtrak trips between Chicago and Detroit, and create an estimated 700 jobs, according to Pence’s Indiana Department of Transportation.
But the money for the project isn’t coming from INDOT.
The Indiana Gateway is being paid for by the federal government through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more commonly known as the stimulus.
As a congressman, Pence had a lot to say about the stimulus when it was being debated by the U.S. House. As chairman of the House Republican Conference, he led opposition to the stimulus in the chamber and condemned it repeatedly in national television appearances…Asked Friday about his seeming change of heart toward the stimulus now that he is governor, Pence repeated his opposition to stimulus spending.
“Back in early 2009, I just didn’t think we could borrow and spend and bail our way back to a growing economy, and I still believe that to be the case,” he said.
But he added that if the money is out there, a governor must make sure the state get its share — especially if it will be spent on infrastructure projects like the Indiana Gateway, which Pence called “a sound, sound use of public dollars.
“I do support the state of Indiana’s efforts, over the last administration and this administration, to marshal those dollars and put them to work in ways that I think are going to help Northwest Indiana’s economy grow and really maintain our posture as the Crossroads of America,” Pence said.
Like every other Republican who opposed the stimulus bill but groveled to get as much money for their states as they could, Pence seems to think that Indiana is some sort of economic gravity well. In Indiana, using funds from the stimulus bill on infrastructure projects like this is going to help the economic grow and create jobs, but will not do the same thing for similar projects anywhere else. This is about equal parts hypocritical and ridiculous.