June 16 2009
Coburn Report on Stimulus Waste
On the heels of the White House report "100 Days, 100 Projects," which boasts such stimulus successes as the purchase a new building with walk-in freezers for a food distribution center in Virginia, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released a scathing report called 100 Stimulus Projects: A Second Opinion. The report lists 100 examples of waste in the stimulus bill. According to Senator Coburn's press release:
"Earl Devaney, head of the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency (RAT) Board, estimates that at least $55 billion of stimulus funds may be lost to waste, fraud and abuse. However, the final number will likely be much higher. If stimulus funds do not promote economic growth history may indicate that the vast majority of stimulate dollars would have been better off staying in taxpayers' pockets."
Ten examples of wasteful stimulus projects in the report include:
1. $1.5 million in "free" stimulus money for a new wastewater treatment plant results in higher utility costs for residents of Perkins, Oklahoma.
2. $1 billion for FutureGen in Mattoon, Illinois is the "biggest earmark of all time" for a power plant that may never work.
3. $15 million for "shovel-ready" repairs to little-used bridges in rural Wisconsin are given priority over widely used bridges that are structurally deficient.
4. $800,000 for little-used John Murtha Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania airport to repave a back-up runway; the 'Airport for Nobody' Has Already Received Tens of Millions in Taxpayer dollars.
5. $3.4 million for a wildlife "eco-passage" in Florida to take animals safely under a busy roadway.
6. Nevada non-profit gets $2 million weatherization contract after recently being fired for same type of work.
7. $1.15 million for installation of a new guard rail for the non-existent Optima Lake in Oklahoma.
8. Nearly $10 million to renovate an abandoned train station that hasn't been used in 30 years.
9. 10,000 dead people get stimulus checks, but the Social Security Administration blames a tough deadline.
10. Town of Union, New York, encouraged to spend a $578,000 grant it did not request for a homelessness problem it claims it does not have.
"Taxpayers everywhere should be outraged at this waste and should demand better from their Representatives".