Highlighting examples of billion dollar boondoggles from coast to coast, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the Senate’s biggest foe of government waste, is demanding Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg disclose and justify every project the Biden administration is financing with taxpayer dollars that is $1 billion or more over budget and five years or more behind schedule.
In a letter to Secretary Buttigieg, Ernst points out that the bloated infrastructure bill approved by Congress last year includes her provision that requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to publicly disclose and justify every single one of these boondoggles, including:
- California’s 800 mile high-speed rail project, which has tripled from $33 billion in 2008 to $105 billion today and completion has been delayed 13 years, from 2020 to 2033.
- A 5-mile extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to San Jose, which was expected to cost under $4.7 billion in 2018, but has nearly doubled in price to $9.15 billion.
- The 20 mile Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project, which in 2012 was planned for January 2020 at a cost of $5.1 billion, but has since been delayed until 2031 with the cost doubling to $12.5 billion.
- The National Capital Purple Line, a 16.2 mile rail project in Maryland that is almost five years behind schedule and nearly $1.5 billion over budget.
In her letter, Ernst says: “To put these numbers into perspective, Iowa has budgeted a total of $835 million for road and bridge construction projects across the entire state for a full year! Going a billion dollars over budget is not a rounding error and delays of five years or more are not inconsequential interruptions and should not be simply accepted as standard business practices, much less subsidized with blank checks from taxpayers.”
Adam Andrzejewski, founder & CEO of OpenTheBooks.com, said: “What government program is running well? Certainly not the four transit systems highlighted by Sen. Ernst and her Squeal Award. These infrastructure projects continue to milk taxpayers like dairy cows. The projects are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. It’s time to make America accountable again and Ernst is leading the charge.”
In accordance with Ernst’s provision, which is now law as part of the infrastructure package, Secretary Buttigieg must issue the report on these projects no later than November 15.
Ernst awarded her June 2022 Squeal Award to DOT and Secretary Buttigieg for continuing to shovel Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars into these bottomless boondoggles.
To read Ernst’s full letter to Buttigieg, click here.