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Where Did All The Money Go?

- February 17, 2012

How The $825 Billion Stimulus Was Spent In Your State Over The Past Three Years

ALABAMA

$400,000 For Highway “Beautification Project.” “The city of Hoover will get $400,000 in federal stimulus money for a landscaping and beautification project at the Interstate 65 and U.S. 31 interchange, city officials learned this week. The project will be paid completely with federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation. The city will not be required to provide any matching funds for the project.” (Staci B. Brooks, “Hoover To Get $400,000 In Federal Stimulus Money For Landscaping,” The Birmingham News7/8/09)

ALASKA

$15 Million To Construct Airport In Village Of Ouzinkie With 165 Residents. “The village of Ouzinkie is one of the remotest outposts in the United States—home to a mere 165 people on an island off another island off the coast of Alaska. There are no stores, no gas stations and no stoplights. Yet the village will soon be home to a new $15 million airport paid for by taxpayers under the federal stimulus package.” (Michael Grabell, “Tiny Airports Take Off With Stimulus,” Pro Publica, 7/13/09)

$13.9 Million To Replace Airport In Akiachak With 660 Residents. “The second calls for spending $13.9 million to replace the airport in Akiachak, a remote Yup’ik Eskimo village in western Alaska with a population of around 660.” (Michael Cooper, “Inspector General Questions Value Of Some Airport Stimulus Projects,” The New York Times, 8/11/09)

ARIZONA

$950,000 To Study The Genetic Makeup Of Ants. "Half a million dollars went to Arizona State University to study the genetic makeup of ants to determine distinctive roles in ant colonies; $450,000 went to the University Of Arizona to study the division of labor in ant colonies." ("Senate GOP Point Out 'Pure Waste' Found In Stimulus Package," The Hill, 12/8/09)

Stimulus Funds Spent To Build “Bat-Friendly Cupolas And Desert Tortoise Fencing…” “By the administration's calculations, recovery act money created or saved almost 400 jobs in the county while providing money for projects ranging from bat-friendly cupolas and desert tortoise fencing ...” (Mark Duncan, “Stimulus Report Card: Where Did All The Mohave County Money Go?” Kingman Daily Miner, 1/23/12)

ARKANSAS

$2.5 Million For The Clinton Presidential Library. “A historic bridge at Bill Clinton's presidential center in Little Rock is slated to get $2.5 million of federal stimulus money from Arkansas's share of the funds. … Members of the Arkansas congressional delegation sought an $8 million legislative earmark for the bridge this year, without success. But after Congress authorized the $787 billion stimulus package in February, representatives of the William J. Clinton Foundation contacted Mr. Beebe's office, according to Matt DeCample, the governor's spokesman, and spoke with Mr. Beebe's recovery director and ombudsman to suggest the bridge project receive funds from Arkansas's share.” (Louis Radnofsky, “Clinton Site Gets A Taste Of The Stimulus Pie,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/30/09)

$13,000 For A Sculpture To Decorate Fort Smith High School. “A large piece of art amidst the extensive renovation at Southside High School in Fort Smith is part of an effort to change the appearance of the ‘factory-like’ main building at the high school. The cost of the sculpture and surrounding area, which was designed by Fort Smith architect Tim Risley, is $13,000, according to information from the school district. The cost of the renovation of the high school — which includes new sidewalks, landscaping, lighting, parking lots — is around $2.6 million. The school district says 80% of the funds are federal stimulus dollars.” (“Large Art Structure Part Of High School Renovation,” The City Wire, 8/5/09)

CALIFORNIA

$4.3 Billion To Build High Speed Rail Between Two Sparsely Populated Rural Towns. “Instead, the recommended route doesn't connect those population centers. One end stops in Borden, which was derided in an editorial in the Merced Sun-Star as a ‘mythical 'town’ that ‘Gertrude Stein wouldn't even have acknowledged.’ The San Jose Mercury News described the other end of the route, Corcoran, as ‘perhaps best known for the state prison where Charles Manson is locked up.’ … Federal officials said last month they wanted the $4.3 billion to go toward a project that can be completed and operational by 2017.” (Daisy Nguyen, “Critics Pan Proposed High-Speed Rail Segment,” The Associated Press, 12/1/10)

$535 Million For Loan Guarantee To Now-Bankrupt Solyndra. (Solyndra, “Solyndra Offered $535 Million Loan Guarantee By The U.S. Department Of Energy,” Press Release, 3/20/09; Joe Stephens And Carol Leonnig, “House Republicans Step Up Solyndra Investigation,” The Washington Post, 9/1/11; George Avalos, “Fremont Solar Tech Firm Solyndra To Shut Down, Lay Off 1,100 Workers,” The San Jose Mercury News, 8/31/11)

$54 Million To Construct A Napa Valley Wine Train.  “But the main action today is in Napa, where, without competitive bidding, this unusual construction company won a $54 million federal contract to build a new railroad bridge and other structures for the famed Napa Valley Wine Train tourist attraction. … But in December, U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., issued a report listing the Wine Train among 100 stimulus projects that they derided as ‘silly and shortsighted’ and a waste of money. The lawmakers also suggested the project wasn’t doing much for the economy.” (ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” 2/2/10)

$16.1 Million To Save The San Francisco Bay Area Habitat Of The Endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse. “The tiny mouse that became a hotly disputed symbol of wasteful spending in the congressional debate over the $787 billion economic stimulus bill has returned to pester House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Obama administration quietly announced last week that as much as $16.1 million from the stimulus program is going to save the San Francisco Bay area habitat of, among other things, the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.” (S.A. Miller, “GOP Slams Stimulus Mouse Money,” The Washington Times, 7/9/09)

$6.4 Million To Company Under Criminal Investigation For Questionable Billing To The City Of San Diego. “Watsonville-based Granite Construction received $6.4 million in stimulus contracts to work on airport runways in Salinas and Monterey and repair roads in San Bernardino, Riverside and Butte counties. Yet the company faces three federal probes, including a criminal investigation launched after The San Diego Union-Tribune exposed questionable billing of the city for wildfire cleanup.” (Will Evans, “Questionable Firms Getting Stimulus Cash,” The San-Diego Union Tribune, 1/10/10)

$3 Million To Study Video Games. “$3 million in taxpayer money that went to researchers at the University of California at Irvine so they can play video games such as World Of Warcraft.”  (Catalina Camia, “Grateful Dead, Zoo Poetry Top 2010 Wasteful Spending,” USA Today, 12/20/10)

$1.5 Million To Renovate Eight Modesto Homes, Which Were Resold At A Value Lower Than The Cost Spent Renovating The Homes. “In an effort to stabilize the city's real estate market, a federal stimulus program has spent nearly $1.5 million on eight Modesto homes that ended up being worth less than $1 million.” (J.N. Sbrantijnsbranti, “Modesto Renovates Homes Expensively, Doesn't Recoup Money In Sales,” Modesto Bee, 1/15/12)

$489,000 To Retrofit Los Angeles’ Luxury Yacht, The “Angelena.” “The port is using $489,000 in federal taxpayer stimulus money that is supposed to go create jobs, plus another $200,000 coming from the port — totaling $689,000 for new engines. … The port bought it in 1988. It is used for public relations tours of the harbor, which run about two hours long. They are free of charge for just about any group, like one we observed for students of Banning High. We obtained the ship’s logs for the past two years, which show cruises with as many as 48 passengers at a time. We also obtained the names of thousands of people who have been on-board. More than 4,000 took the cruise just last year. Some of the people do business with the port, but many have nothing to do with it.” (David Goldstein, “Taxpayer Money Used To Maintain Million-Dollar Yacht,” KCAL-TV [Los Angeles, CA], 2/6/12)

$233,825 To Study African Election Exit Poll Data. “UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO Grant: $233,825 - National Science Foundation … Project Description: The primary objective of this project is, thus, to identify the micro-foundations of vote choice in sub-Saharan Africa through extensive analysis of individual-level exit poll data. Our project requires gathering sociodemographic, census, and political data to help us to design our poll well, writing and testing our exit poll in the field, training and supervising staff in the field, collecting and entering exit poll data into databases, analyzing and testing those data, and publishing the results of our analyses. We will disseminate our research results widely to academic and policy audiences as well as develop a comprehensive dataset that will be accessible to the public. These efforts will result in a robust understanding of how Africans vote, which will in turn allow for a better targeting our external aid funds aimed at promoting democracy on the continent.” (Stimulus Watch, 9/19/09)

$50,000 For Art House Showing Pornographic Horror Film. “The National Endowment for the Arts may be spending some of the money it received from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund nude simulated-sex dances, Saturday night ‘pervert’ revues and the airing of pornographic horror films at art houses in San Francisco. … A few of their more risque choices have some taxpayer advocates hot under the collar, including a $50,000 infusion for the Frameline film house, which recently screened Thundercrack, ‘the world's only underground kinky art porno horror film, complete with four men, three women and a gorilla.’” (Joseph Abrams, “Stimulus Bill Funds Go To Art Houses Showing ‘Pervert’ Revues, Underground Pornography,” Fox News, 7/30/09)

$25,000 For Art House Showing “Long-Running Pansexual Performance Series.” “The National Endowment for the Arts may be spending some of the money it received from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund nude simulated-sex dances, Saturday night ‘pervert’ revues and the airing of pornographic horror films at art houses in San Francisco. … CounterPULSE, whose ‘long-running pansexual performance series’ invites guests to ‘join your fellow pervs for some explicit, twisted fun.’ CounterPULSE received a $25,000 grant in the ‘Dance’ category; a staffer there said they were pleased to receive the grant, ‘which over the next year will be used to preserve jobs at our small non-profit.’” (Joseph Abrams, “Stimulus Bill Funds Go To Art Houses Showing ‘Pervert’ Revues, Underground Pornography,” Fox News, 7/30/09)


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