Thirteen Bay Area members of Congress have requested $2.3 billion for projects in next year’s federal budget, ranging from earthquake retrofits for the Golden Gate Bridge to a bike trail in Bodega Bay. The projects, known as earmarks, would primarily benefit their own constituents.
The members’ requests are among hundreds of such projects submitted for consideration by California members of Congress, and for the first time, House members are required to post their requests on the Appropriations Committee Web site, offering an easy look into their local priorities.
Earmarks have become a flash point in the debate over balancing the federal budget. Fiscal conservatives decry the spending as wasteful, while others say earmarks are necessary to direct federal spending to worthwhile projects.