Maybe it’s not so ‘wasteful’ after all

MAYBE IT’S NOT SO ‘WASTEFUL’ AFTER ALL…. On Tuesday night, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) decried the economic stimulus package, insisting that it’s “larded with wasteful spending.” To bolster his case, the governor pointed to, among other things, “$8 billion for high-speed rail projects.”

Some of Jindal’s other examples (“something called volcano monitoring”) have already been proven worthwhile, and in retrospect, the governor probably should have left out HSR, too.

Louisiana’s transportation department plans to request federal dollars for a New Orleans to Baton Rouge passenger rail service from the same pot of railroad money in the president’s economic stimulus package that Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized as unnecessary pork on national television Tuesday night.

The high-speed rail line, a topic of discussion for years, would require $110 million to upgrade existing freight lines and terminals to handle a passenger train operation, said Mark Lambert, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Asked about the apparent contradiction, the governor’s Chief of Staff complained about the Vegas-to-Anaheim HSR project that wasn’t in the stimulus package, and “did not address the Louisiana proposal.”

That Jindal speech is just the gift that keeps on giving.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.