Civil War center's funding debated

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A planned American Civil War Center in downtown Richmond won a $1 million boost from Congress recently, but it also took some flak.

Critics of "pork-barrel" spending have shelled the Civil War Center, along with numerous other projects nationally, that were included in a $453 billion defense-spending bill for fiscal 2006.

While the $1 million appropriation is only a tiny fraction of the overall annual defense bill, it has become part of a perennial debate over what critics call pork.

Keith Ashdown, a vice president of the advocacy group Taxpayers for Common Sense, said separately about the Civil War Center funding: "Dollars going to troops shouldn't be going to memorials or museums."

But Sen. George Allen, R-Va., who sought the Civil War Center money, defended it as a valuable expenditure that was sought by Virginians and secured under budgetary rules that are on the books.

"There are only a certain number of trains that come through the station that provide funding for projects across the country. This appropriations bill is one of those trains," said John Reid, Allen's communications director.

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