Robert Dold: Stimulus Funding Is Wasteful, Except When It's Not

WASHINGTON -- An ardent opponent of the federal stimulus plan showed up Monday in Winnetka, Ill., to smile and cut the ribbon at a ceremony unveiling a local project funded by that very stimulus.

"Originally built in the 1940s, the [train] station not only got a facelift but three heated platform warming shelters, two new elevators and a new pedestrian bridge to allow commuters to wait in the station and then quickly cross over the tracks to the Chicago-bound platform," Winnetka-Glencoe Patch reported Tuesday morning.

A $4.9 million renovation courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 arrived at Winnetka’s historic Elm Street train station Monday with a restoration of much of the original woodwork and modern elevators from the station to the platform.

Village President Jessica Tucker joined the festivities alongside Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.), state Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), state Rep. Robyn Gable (D-Evanston), Metra board member and Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder and other dignitaries among the crowd of more than 40 people.

The stimulus was opposed by every House Republican and all but three Senate Republicans, yet Dold is just one of scores of Republicans who've celebrated funding at home while opposing it in Washington. Dold was not in Congress when the ARRA was passed, but told Patch in 2010 during his campaign that he would have opposed it.

"I myself think that what's going on right now is our out-of-control spending is just that -- out of control," he said. "We need to make sure we're not raising taxes. We need to focus on how to get people back to work. In the 10th [of] this $862 billion stimulus package, we spent $169 million in the 10th District, ... and we've created 158 jobs. That is a dismal failure. We need to be pro-growth and pro-jobs strategies out there."

The stimulus is often discussed only in terms of the number of jobs that were created, but the money also left behind infrastructure improvements such as the renovation in Winnetka. At the unveiling of the refurbished Elm Street project, Dold told the crowd, according to Patch, that "this is an infrastructure project we can be proud of."

During a June speech at the Illinois Policy Institute, Dold lambasted stimulus spending in Illinois as inefficient and wasteful.

Shortly after being sworn in, Dold also cosponsored legislation rescinding any unspent stimulus money.