Saturday, September 14, 2002

Senate candidates spar over Transpark

By The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE - The Kentucky Trimodal Transpark, already the center of environmental and development controversy in Warren County, is now a topic in the U.S. Senate race.

        Democratic candidate Lois Combs Weinberg said Thursday she opposes the park and said political contributions may have colored U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's support for the project.

        Mr. McConnell's campaign called the accusation “baseless” and wrote it off as “another desperate attack from a political neophyte who will say anything to get attention.”

        Ms. Weinberg, seeking to unseat the Republican McConnell in the Nov. 5 election, said she opposes construction of the park, despite the support from prominent Democrats, including Gov. Paul Patton and former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford.

        Ms. Weinberg said she is concerned because proponents haven't proven that the project will provide the jobs promised or that it won't harm the ecosystem in Mammoth Cave National Park.

        Proponents say that studies have concluded that there's little chance that Mammoth Cave will be damaged and that financial studies show the project is feasible. Opponents have questioned those conclusions in studies commissioned by supporters of the transpark.

        Mr. McConnell has largely stayed out of the fray but persuaded the Senate Appropriations Committee to give priority consideration to funding the project's land acquisition.

        The Courier-Journal reported last year that two key backers of the project had given $31,550 in political contributions to Mr. McConnell and other Republican interests since 1992.

        McConnell campaign manager Hunter Bates said Ms. Weinberg can't show that the senator's support for the transpark is tied to contributions because it isn't true.


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- Senate candidates spar over Transpark