Senate refuses to limit transportation projects

By the Associated Press | October 22, 2011 | 1:50 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has rejected an effort by Sen. John McCain to bar federal spending on transportation museums, highway beautification and preservation of historic bridges.

By 59-39, lawmakers turned aside the proposal by the Arizona Republican. He argued that in tough budgetary times, states would be better off spending their federal transportation funds on repairing deteriorating roads and bridges.

Opponents said McCain's measure would have prevented Amtrak from upgrading historic buildings it uses as stations in many cities, and block preservation of icons like New York's Brooklyn Bridge and the covered bridges of New England.

McCain's amendment to a spending bill was aimed at the transportation enhancement program, which last year spent over $900 million on such projects.