100 Worst Stimulus Projects

This should really get your blood boiling, from Tom Coburn's office (pdf).  I am still perusing it, but two of my favorites already:

  • $1.445 million for an Oklahoma water project, where stimulus-required procurement and other rules subsequently increased the cost of the project by $1.94 million.  So the local folks lost a net of $500,000 by taking our money.  Serves the right.
  • $800,000 for a backup runway for the now famous airport to nowhere, also known as the John Murtha airport in Johnstown.  This is critical, because if they were to lose their current runway, all three flights a day and 20 daily passengers (I am not kidding) might have to find an alternative airport.  This brings the total airport subsidy to $15,411 per annual passenger.
  • A California skate park will get a $620,000 "facelift."  Plans to refurbish the skate park in Long Beach, California, had stalled for months as local funds put towards higher priority park projects. With $620,000 in federal stimulus funding available to upgrade the skate park, the city council decided to move forward. Daniel Johnson, a skater, said, "If most of us weren't skating right now, we'd be doing some bad stuff."  Because nothing says "gateway activity to adult productivity and preparation for the job market" like a skateboard park.


  1. Jody:

    two of my favorites already:
    Stimulus-induced inflation is rampant!

  2. LJK:

    Hey, I'm from Johnstown. The airport doesn't go to nowhere. It goes to Pittsburgh and...Pittsburgh. With $800,000 we could extend service to the far flung shores of Philadelphia. It would be a popular flight carrying over one people daily.

    The airport is a local Joke. Even more so since they started ubiquitous radio advertisement. Pittsburgh International is under a two hour drive from Johnstown. Between boarding, takeoff, and waiting to disembark, the drive can actually save time. Plus, it is physically impossible to make the flight less expensive than a few gallons of gas.

  3. Eric Hammer:

    Be fair to the skateboard kid: your argument and his are both equally applicable to basketball courts, baseball fields and every other state/locally supported sports park sort of thing. It is equally stupid to fund any such thing with public money, in otherwords.

  4. morganovich:

    i don't think it's been approved yet, but san francisco is applying for $400 million to build a new downtown train station so caltrain can reach the financial district. this is part of a $1 billion new bus terminal etc.

    one major problem with the project: the train doesn't go there. not only are there no train tracks leading there, there is not even a plan for putting them in. the city readily admits they have no idea where they will get the estimated $2 billion to run the tracks. (and there is no way that number is even clsoe to the real cost) frankly, looking at the logistics of it, i have no idea how they plan to do it at all. the new rail would need to run through one of the hottest development areas in the city. are they going to tunnel under all the new skyscrapers? in an earthquake zone? build an el?

    this is even stupider than a bridge to nowhere. at least you could walk on the bridge and go see an island. but a train station with no train tracks seems like some sort of zen riddle...

  5. military man:

    Absolutly any money being spent on a military installation is not a waste...I stopped reading when I found 2 such projects on this list...if we can spend money to save turtles in florida then we can spend money to improve the quality of life for the people that put their lives on the line to protect this country. As a military member I am offended that a Senator would consider this a waste of money.

  6. Mike D:

    The 14th Street Skate Park is located in one of the most densely populated areas in the country. It is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods for kids to live in Long Beach. The skate park has proven to be an alternative to gangs and the many negatives these kids face everyday.Since the park has opened crime in the area has dropped, kids are choosing to jump into the skate park and not jump in gangs. Those of us that have worked with these at-risk kids for the past 6 years know the skate park is our contribution to the health and public safety of the neighborhood. Maybe those of you that don't understand these benefits where never a kid or maybe grew up in affluent areas and don't realize the need of less fortunate kids in our/your inner city neighborhoods