Road signs for stimulus

July 15, 2010

Have you seen these signs?
They’re at the center of a running debate that flared up Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

The roadside signs are meant to show Americans construction projects funded by economic stimulus money, the Obama administration says.

But some Republican lawmakers have long argued that funds spent on the stimulus signs are a waste of taxpayers’ money and are politically motivated.

ABC News did some investigating to find out more about the roadside signs and included some interesting highlights (or low lights depending on your perspective) in a report that aired today.

ABC reports Illinois has spent $650,000 on about 950 signs. It also found a very pricey one planted near Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia. (The airport is run by the independent Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, not Virginia, which ABC says does not sanction any stimulus signs). Read the full story here.”

A New York Times survey last fall  found that at least half a dozen states were not erecting the signs, which they see as a waste of money.

California Rep. Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (described in a recent Washington Post item as “one of the president’s chief antagonists”) has been a leading voice for the forces against the signs and he’s asked  the stimulus watchdog for an investigation.

Issa wants to hear from the Recovery Act and Transparency and Accountability Board about sign guidelines the administration is giving to  people on  the receiving end of  stimulus money.

The signs say “Putting America to Work,”  but Issa suggests the message may be more about politics.

“Whose jobs are wasteful ‘stimulus’ signs meant to save? Not yours.” Issa said in a missive on Twitter Wednesday.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Rick Wilking (A sign in the Denver area announcing road work funded by the economic stimulus plan, Sept 10, 2009)

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