North Carolina Congressman Charles Taylor (R-11) held up a White House request for funding for Flight 93 memorial for two years. Taylor only relented in May, 2006 when publicity from a related movie brought on massive media attention. Taylor cited an undisclosed agreement as the reason for his change of heart. According to Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook, Jr, there was a similar signed agreement to fund the Oklahoma City bombing memorial. And Taylor has since reneged, denying the Oklahoma memorial their promised $2 million.
Taylor chairs the Interior Appropriations subcommittee, which oversees the National Park Service budget.
The $5 million dollar Flight 93 memorial request was for land acquisition for the 1,700-acre site in rural Pennsylvania. Supporters of the memorial park say that except for one more $5 million grant next year, they plan to raise the rest of the $58 million price-tag through private donations.
United Flight 93 crashed on September 11, 2001 outside Shanksville, PA. It has been speculated that the plane would have been flown into either the U.S. Capitol or the White House. The plane crashed into the ground after passengers attempted to take over the plane from hijackers.
With no publicity, Taylor had been the lone hold-out to the White House request for two years. Victims' families, White House officials, and the Pennsylvania congressional delegation had pressured Taylor to no avail for two years until he relented the very week the Flight 93 movie was released.
In the same bill, with little publicity, Taylor left out of the budget a requested $2 million for an endowment for the Ocklahoma City bombing memorial. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Rep. Ernest Istook Jr., (R-OK) offered words of warning for the Flight 93 memorial advocates. He said he was still trying to get the $2 million the federal government promised as an endowment for the memorial to the victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing.
. . .
During yesterday's hearing, he told Mr. Taylor he was angry that the committee has so far refused to provide the additional $2 million. He noted that Mr. Taylor demanded a similar signed agreement from parties involved in Oklahoma City memorial.
Taylor cited fiscal restraint for blocking the Flight 93 funding as well as denying the Oklahoma City memorial endowment fund request. Together those requests total $7 million.
For years Taylor has been pushing for a $590 million 26-mile road in the most undeveloped section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A majority of the local community as well as local elected officials have been repeatedly supported a $52 million settlement plan.
Taylor has insisted the road costs can be reduced to $300 million, according to a contractor he "talked to."
Taylor says the road, known as the "Road to Nowhere," is needed so that people can get to cemetaries. The road was promised to residents relocated in the 1940s when Fontana Dam was built. The flooding cut off access to several communities. The residents were relocated. Without the raod those still living have no choice but to use ferry boats to access family cemetaries.
Congressman relents on Flight 93 funds
Friday, May 05, 2006
By Maeve Reston, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Congressman Taylor Disrespects North Carolina Family of Flight 93 Crew Member Screwy Hoolie's Blog April 26, 2006
You Thought Taylor Couldn't Get Worse Southern Dem's blog April 24, 2006
House panel OKs $5 million toward Flight 93 memorial
By KIMBERLY HEFLING
Flight 93 memorial impasse defeated
By Patti Dobranski
Friday, May 5, 2006
Flight 93 funding standoff ends
By KIRK SWAUGER
N.C. Congressman Blocks Flight 93 Memorial
By KIMBERLY HEFLING
The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 25, 2006; 6:49 PM