A long time ago, in a political galaxy far, far away, the late Alabama Gov. George Wallace (search) said: "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats." When it comes to matters of spending the public's money, George Wallace is increasingly being proved right.

The Senate this week passed a transportation bill that is loaded with so much pork it resembles a head-on collision with a truck carrying pigs to slaughter.

The measure exceeds by more than $11 billion the ceiling President Bush has set on transportation spending. The White House has threatened a veto. If the measure is vetoed, it will be the first by this administration.

But the 89-11 vote in favor of the transportation bill shows there are enough votes to override if the GOP leadership wants to embarrass the president and remind the public they are wasting our money.

The House has already passed a transportation bill that costs more than the Senate measure and much more than what is taken in from the tax on gasoline.

As usual with these sorts of things, Congress is adding on irrelevant and costly projects for the folks back home. These include $4 million for bicycle and pedestrian crossings in New Orleans and $3 million for the National Packard Museum.

Republicans promised voters that they would be different from Democrats and would reduce the size and cost of government. They have done just the opposite.

The president should veto this measure. If he doesn't, he joins the rest of his party as part of the problem, not the solution.

May the force of what once was known as Republican convictions be with him.

And that's Column One for this week.

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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.