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June 23rd, 2009
03:33 PM ET

$1.15 million for a waterless lake?

Anna Duning
AC360º Intern

Program Note: Tonight on AC 360º, we’re keeping them honest and taking a closer look at one of these projects: a $5.4 million “Eco-Passage” in Lake Jackson, Florida that protects turtles and other wildlife from becoming road-kill.

Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D., of Oklahoma has a “second opinion” about the $787 billion stimulus bill that passed in Congress earlier this year. In his recently released report, “100 Stimulus Projects: A Second Opinion,” Sen. Coburn reviews 100 projects and programs funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that, he believes, have the potential to fail or waste near $5.5 billion in tax-payer money.

Here’s a quick look at other projects detailed in the report that American tax-payers may find questionable:

  • A nearly empty lake in Oklahoma is being provided with almost $1.15 million for a new guardrail. Optima Lake was built in the 1960’s to improve water supply in the arid region, but the Geological Society of America says the lake loses 100 percent of its inflowing water to evaporation.
  • A bridge in Iowa County, Wisconsin will receive $430,000 for repairs, but according to the report, does not carry more than 10 cars a day. Another bridge in rural Wisconsin will receive $840,000 to repair damage and carries an average 260 vehicles a day, primarily to a golf course and Rusty’s Backwater Saloon.
  • At around $300 a piece, road signs are being put up at construction sites to notify drivers that the projects are being paid for with stimulus money. All together, the signs could cost up to $150,000.
  • Nantucket’s Marine and Coastal Resources Department will receive $2 million to monitor scallop reproduction and habitat.
  • A state-run liquor warehouse in Montana will receive $2.2 million in stimulus money to install skylights in its ceiling.
  • Is your home-town receiving stimulus cash? Are those funds being put to good use? Read Sen. Coburn’s report and decide for yourself.


    Filed under: 360° Radar • Keeping Them Honest
    soundoff (7 Responses)
    1. Jon Krauss

      In response to the news article on the turtle crossing in Florida, what happened to "Planet in Peril"? While it may not seem important to an out of work auto worker in Detroit, this is the same attitude that builds a highway across a turtle migration route, hunts wales for "scientific research" and burns the rain forest. I am by no means a Sierra Club member and differ from them on many issues but a few million dollars to protect species as benign as turtles seems a pittance compared to the amounts our government wastes by the minute. Bread and circuses have been updated by big screen TVs and SUVs. Would you prefer the stimulus package just stick to direct payments to the American public?

      June 24, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
    2. Tony

      It is so ironic that stimulus money is being spent on signs that are advertising projects that are being funded by stimulus money just so people can know what the stimulus money is being spent on when people do not need signs to know what the stimulus money is being spent on. (Gotta love English)

      June 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
    3. Lampe

      So much for Obama getting rid of all the PORK-PROJECTS,once he was in office. Another campaign promise broken.

      June 23, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
    4. Mary, Mason,Ohio

      I don't think its stimulus money but this 4th of july fireworks show in mason, ohio is spending a little under $350,000. I feel they should use that money for roads or getting solar panels for the state of the art waste of a high school that never should have been built. You have to see it to believe it.

      June 23, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
    5. Annie Kate

      There is always some projects that make you wonder if the Congress left their brains home the day they approved the inclusion of them in the bill. Of the ones you listed I think the most ironic one (the one that makes you go HUH?) is the one where they are using 150K to post signs at construction sites to let people know that the construction is not financed by the stimulus bill.

      In looking at the bigger document I didn't find any for my state (Alabama) but I did look at the rest of the ones for TN and there is one I think that should NOT be included – the one where the SC Department of Natural Resources will use 1.7 million to grow oysters. To do this they have to restore the reefs which are getting decimated by climate change, overfishing, and development. Reefs provide a habitat for many sea creatures that are in our direct food chain; also reefs help slow down and lessen the impact of storm surge from a bad storm. The project that will use 2.5 million to study beach restoration may in the end lead to better ways to conserve our beaches so that they are not lost through beach erosion. The rest of the allocations for the South seem dubious at best.

      June 23, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
    6. Tim Gibson

      The river is deep and the river is wide, hallelujah
      Milk and honey on the other side, hallelujah
      Obama row the boat ashore, hallelujah
      Obama row the boat ashore, hallelujah

      Wait, how far did he say that shore was? Anyone know!

      June 23, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
    7. mizzle

      WOW! What a huge waste of money. Guard rails for an empty lake? over $400k for a scarcely used bridge? $2.2million for skylights? $150k for road signs? Who elects these morons? THIS is what is wrong with America today. Idiots like these are put into office.

      Next you're going to tell me that welfare is given to people that don't deserve it...oh wait...it already is.

      American politics=FAIL!

      June 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm |