Sen. Shaughnessy jabs at David Williams over busing and bridges

12/16/2010 07:37 PM

Republican Senate President David Williams has created false expectations for Louisville residents on the issues of school busing and the construction of bridges over the Ohio River, said Democratic state Sen. Tim Shaughnessy of Louisville.

Williams pre-filed legislation with Republican Sen. Dan Seum of Louisville that requires school districts to assign students to the school closest to their homes.

“In reality, in a number of cases, you’re not going to be able to do that,” Shaughnessy said. He has filed his own bill in response to the Williams-Seum bill that would require the state to cover any costs associated with sending students to the school closest to them.

“Both these legislators are Republicans,” Shaughnessy said. “They’re against unfunded mandates. But make no mistake about it: These are unfunded mandates.”

Ousted Jefferson County School Superintendent Sheldon Berman said it would cost as much as $200 million to build new schools and handle transportation if the Williams-Seum neighborhood schools bill passed.

Williams, in an interview, dismissed that estimate and noted that the school board opted not to renew Berman’s contract, thereby undermining his credibility on the issue.

Shaughnessy also criticized Williams for “creating the expectation” that Louisville would get two new bridges. Now a commission has recommended tolls to construct those bridges including the possibility of tolls on existing bridges.

“I am not going to support the tolling of existing infrastructure,” Shaughnessy said.

He also answered questions about why the 15 members of the Senate Democratic caucus have failed to elect their floor leader for the 2011 and 2012 sessions.

“Is this where I say never in the history of the state have so few fought so hard for so little?” he asked rhetorically.

- Ryan Alessi

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