Susan Stamper Brown, 6/6/2016 [Archive]

Where's the Stimulus Funding for Infrastructure?

By Susan Stamper Brown

While traveling across the country with your kids this summer, be sure to buckle-up and do your best to overlook all the potholes and crumbling bridges out there. Even if funding was available, things will probably remain in disrepair until your kids are grown, thanks to big government regulations and red tape.

Former Obama administration's U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood told CNN's Rene Marsh during a recent four-part investigative report that America is "like a Third World country" when it comes to infrastructure and said, "The reason we have 57,000 deficient bridges is because we have not made the investment as a national government."

Apparently Mr. LaHood forgot about all the money taxpayers were forced to "invest" when the $831 billion Stimulus Bill was passed in 2009. We were told it would quickly lower unemployment with the creation of "shovel-ready" construction jobs intended to repair failing infrastructure across the country.

In fact, the promise of "shovel-ready" jobs was the big selling point President Obama used to urge Congress to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [ARRA]. Of course, he later admitted, "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected."

Apparently, shovel-ready jobs weren't shovel-ready because government couldn't get out of its own way, thanks to its own regulations and red tape. (Yet another reason why this blond columnist is a fan of small government.)

While the White House's final report to Congress in 2014 stated the stimulus "initiated more than 15,000 transportation projects," they obviously weren't completed, given the numbers in Table 8 on page 34 of the report reflects just $30 billion, or around 3 percent, was spent on infrastructure.

In her CNN report, Ms. Marsh said the Memorial Bridge near the nation's capital "will be shut down in five years if it doesn't get the $250 million needed for repairs." So why wasn't it fixed with stimulus funds?

Where's the $105.3 billion the ARRA allotted for infrastructure investment, with approximately $48.1 billion earmarked for transportation?

We do know that the Clintons reportedly received a slice of the stimulus pie.According to the Wall Street Journal, Bill Clinton's presidential center received $2.5 million in federal stimulus money to build a "historic bridge." We also know that $1.3 million was wasted on all those annoying ARRA signs the Obama administration planted on roads and highways across the country.

Another $3 million was "invested" for a turtle tunnel in north Florida, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Washington Free Beacon reported some of the "most outrageous" ARRA spending included: $152,000 to prepare lesbians for adoptive parenthood; $600,000 to plant trees in rich neighborhoods; $384,949 to study duck penises; $1.2 million to study erectile dysfunction in overweight men; $100,000 for anti-capitalism puppet shows and $535 million on the now famously defunct solar company, Solyndra.

In fact, the Washington Times reports: "Taxpayers are on the hook for more than $2.2 billion in expected costs from the federal government's energy loan guarantee programs."

Moreover, Obama's original stimulus bill envisioned several high-speed trains bulleting across the country, but only California bit the boondoggle bait, finally breaking ground last year. Californians forged ahead despite losing public support because they wanted to avoid returning billions in stimulus money. So they began the first segment in the middle; essentially building "a train from nowhere to nowhere, ridden by almost no one," National Review reports.

So here we are, America's infrastructure is Third World-ish with roads jarred by potholes, crumbling bridges, antiquated railways and subpar airports. And as always, Washington's big government red-tape political elites delight in spending hard-earned taxpayer dollars like drunken sailors on liberty, funding pet projects like studying duck penises and building Clinton bridges, turtle tunnels and trains to nowhere.

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© 2016 Susan Stamper Brown Susan lives in Alaska and writes about culture, politics and current events. She was selected as one of America's 50 Best Conservative writers for 2015. Her columns are syndicated by CagleCartoons.com. Contact her by Facebook or at writestamper@gmail.com.

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