The left’s big search for ‘shovel ready‘ projects continues. The White House Bulletin reports that New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, “expressed concern that the economic stimulus package lacks sufficient funding for backlogged national park and water projects.”

Actually, Bingaman went beyond “concern,” to offer a $17.5 billion shopping list including:

$9.5 billion for “deferred maintenance” in national parks;
$5 billion for backlogged “road and trail maintenance in the national forests;” and,
$3 billion for “aging water infrastructure.”

National Parks may be a worthy use of tax dollars, but there is a normal process for deciding how much to spend on parks and what projects are most worthwhile. The stimulus is supposedly about restoring economic growth. How exactly does spending billions of taxpayer dollars on trail maintenance in national forests get the economy moving again?

Surely the Obama team, who promised the stimulus would only fund “what works” is resisting such entreaties? Not quite. Incoming Interior Secretary Ken Salazar replied to Bingaman “We hope to be able to address those in the economic recovery package.”