A Satellite Image Tour of Congressional Earmarks

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If you live next to a member of Congress, you're in luck. A new Washington Post investigation shows the myriad ways lawmakers "spruce up" their neighborhoods by steering more than $300 million in earmarks to public projects that are "next to or near" their own properties. From renovating a downtown area adjacent to your own office building to replenishing a beach directly infront of your cottage to building a bike lane right by your home, 33 members of Congress have been caught red-handed. The galling exposé is well-worth reading in full. We took a closer look at the satellite imagery of a handful of public projects described in the story. Here's how three Democrats and three Republicans likely raised the value of the properties they own:

Bike lane

The almost $500,000 that Miller secured for this earmark in 2006 helped build a 14-foot-wide bike lane approximately 900 feet from her home. Way to keep your neighborhood bike-friendly, congresswoman!

Beach replenishment 

LoBiondo has reserved $4.68 million for "beach monitoring and nourishment" of the Ventor City, New Jersey shoreline since 2008. It totally has nothing to do with the fact the beach sits 850 feet from his home.

Transit station 

Tierney secured $3.5 million to help pay for a 950-space parking garage and commuter rail station in Salem, Mass. It's approximately a quarter-mile from a commercial building owned by Tierney. Is finding a parking space near your building a drag? If you're a member of Congress, order up a parking garage!

Studying the Eisenhower Expressway 

It's the High Line but for Illinois! Davis secured $800,000 for a study of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway in Illinois. The project looks into whether a deck over the expressway can be built that would offer a green space and a bridge to cross over the busy transit area. 

Central Subway Project

House minority leader Pelosi helped reserve $50 million toward a fancy new light-rail project in San Francisco's Union Square and Chinatown. Her husband happens to own a four-story commercial building just blocks away from the project.

Railroad Study


Is traffic too congested? Build a rail line! Wicker helped get $1.5 million for a study about relocating railroad tracks at a busy intersection in Tupelo, Mississippi that's almost a half-mile from his home. But to be fair, it's not necessarily a win-win situation given that late-night trains will be disturbing his sweet congressional slumber. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.