Friday, July 31, 2009

Stimulus Money and Old Bridges

Yesterday I posted a response to one of Stephen Walt's questions about why people don't want to spend money on repairing bridges. I mentioned that money supposedly intended for bridges and other infrastructure is often wasted on pork projects. Today CBS News has an article up illustrating what I was talking about: "Stimulus Cash Not Fixing Dangerous Bridges." Remember this?
President Obama urged Congress last winter to pass his $787 billion stimulus package so some of the economic recovery money could be used to rebuild what he called America's "crumbling bridges." Lawmakers said it was a historic chance to chip away at the $65 billion backlog of deficient structures, often neglected until a catastrophe
But now that they have the money, most states have found other things to do with it. With the exception of Virginia and South Carolina, which are actually using stimulus money to repair old bridges, most states are still neglecting them, despite all the propaganda from the Obama administration and Democrats in the run-up to the passage of the stimulus. According to CBS News, even including VA and SC, bridges being repaired account for
less than 1 percent of the more than 150,000 bridges nationwide that engineers have labeled deficient or obsolete. Of those, more than 39,000 are considered the worst, rated poor in at least one structural component and eligible to be replaced with federal money.
And people actually wonder why many of us are highly skeptical of big government domestic spending programs.


  1. Some of us even wonder why others insert the 'domestic' qualifier.

  2. True. All big government spending programs, whether foreign policy related or domestic, are pretty suspect. Wasteful military spending is a prime example.