Questionable Projects Gobble Stimulus Funds

Report skeptical of $2M dance center, $1M Okla. guardrail
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 14, 2009 12:20 PM CDT
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. after his address to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber of the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
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(Newser) – The economic stimulus is funding a variety of projects, but some possibilities—like a $1.1 million move to fix a guardrail no one uses—don’t seem to fit President Obama’s vision for the money, the Los Angeles Times reports. Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn will question such projects in a report due this week. Obama had outlined projects ranging from promoting alternative energy and connecting rural areas to broadband Internet, but local governments have other ideas.

The Minneapolis City Council called for $2 million to fix up a dance center, creating 48 jobs, while it gave less than $300,000 to a solar-panel factory that would have created 360 jobs but now can’t open in the city. In other cases, stimulus cash is backing projects that would have been completed anyway using other funding. "We know some of this money is going to be wasted," Vice President Joe Biden has said.