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Your Government: Transportation Filibuster

Mid-summer is a favorite time of the year in Washington, DC, as residents and visitors alike gather for the annual Transportation Bill filibuster. As Senators work in the Capitol Building, debating the merits of placing eight-lane highways through downtown Bend, Oregon, and installing computerized subways in New Orleans, hot air enthusiasts take advantage of the updraft over the grounds to try out the oldest form of air transportation.

In the local lingo, this is called "scoring a bag," meaning filling a balloon with hot air over one of the Capitol Building's rooftop vents. Balloonists rate a Transportation Bill by the number of balloons (bags) that are launched each year. A "sixty bagger" is an average year; during government retrenchments, balloonists have scored 150 bags or more.

If you visit and are unsure of the legislative schedule, walk up to any member of the Capitol Police and say you'd like to "score a bag." You'll find them most helpful.


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Washington Apple Pi Virtual Tours, October 12, 1997 lic

[Hot air]