Doolittle to help with Dorsey |

Doolittle to help with Dorsey

Nearly a dozen local officials met Wednesday with Rep. John Doolittle at Grass Valley’s City Hall to discuss the Dorsey Drive overpass and the need for federal funds to build an interchange there to alleviate congestion and create easier and faster access to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

Dan Landon, Nevada County’s Transportation Commission director, told Doolittle that completing the project would cost an estimated $25 million.

“So, did you bring your checkbook?” Grass Valley Mayor Gerard Tassone asked Doolittle, emphasizing the importance of beginning construction soon.

“I’ll do everything I can to help you,” Doolittle (R-Roseville) told the crowd. “There’s no question about that.”

However, Doolittle said that at this point he was “not armed with enough information” regarding the proposed project. He promised to act as the “catalyst” for organizing meetings with state and county officials who could help to make the Dorsey Drive construction plans a reality.

Doolittle also suggested creating a toll road on or near Highway 49 to help pay for construction costs on area roads. However, many government officials at the meeting expressed skepticism of such an idea.

Local issues such as Dorsey Drive were just a few of the topics Doolittle addressed during a stop in western Nevada County Wednesday, one day before the congressman plans to officially announce his re-election campaign in Auburn.

Doolittle has served as Nevada County’s congressional representative since 1990. During the 10 years prior to that, he served as a California state senator.

In an interview with Wednesday at The Union, Doolittle said he disagrees with President George Bush’s position to allow the sale of six major U.S. ports to a company based in the United Arab Emirates.

The London-based company Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation recently sold its ports based in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and other cities to Dubai Ports World. U.S. lawmakers have scrambled to block the sale, citing potential security risks in having ports owned by a company in the Middle East.

“The sale does concern me,” Doolittle said, adding that he wants to pass legislation prohibiting any foreign-based company from owning domestic ports.

“I’m sure he doesn’t want to offend them,” Rep. Doolittle said about Bush’s desire to maintain a positive relationship with the U.A.E. during a period of severely elevated oil and gas prices.

Recently, Doolittle has come under fire for his ties to Jack Abramoff, the high-powered lobbyist who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion charges.

“I do support lobbying reform,” he said, offering comment on just one of a myriad of national issues discussed Wednesday. Among other topics, Doolittle also spoke about some of his recent work in Washington D.C., which, he says, includes protecting American heritage.

In January, Doolittle co-sponsored a resolution supporting the motto “In God We Trust,” which appears on currency and in many public places, such as courtrooms. It’s a bill the congressman considers necessary for the good of the nation.

“This resolution is necessary in order to prevent a few anti-God bullies from white-washing our nation’s heritage with their so called ‘politically-correct’ rhetoric,” Doolittle says in a statement on his Web site.

Doolittle said Wednesday that his resolution supporting the motto was still pending

To contact staff writer Josh Singer, e-mail or call 477-4234.

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