Illinois Stimulus Pork

The following information about Illinois Stimulus Package projects comes from Oklahoma U.S. Senator Tom Colburn’s office:

  • Illinois county to spend $173,824 weatherization grant on eight pickup trucks. Having received $400,000 for a federal weatherization program, Madison County in Illinois will be spending nearly half of it on eight new Ford F-150’s. One member of the county board, Bill Meyer, raised concerns about how fast the county is being forced to spend the money, noting that

    “it looks like this is being crammed down our throat.”

    Fellow council member Bruce Malone responded that they have little choice:

    “They are saying,

    ‘Get out and spend it.’” (61)

    (61) Schmidt, Sanford, “Panel calls for spending stimulus funds on weatherization,” The Telegraph, June 8, 2009.

  • Road signs costing $300 each are being placed at construction sites to alert motorists that the project is being paid for by stimulus money. Signs are popping up all across American. In Illinois alone, the signs are expected to cost $150,000, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). According to an IDOT spokesman,

    “It’s difficult for us to determine how many signs there will be.”(65)

    (65) Erickson, Kurt, “Stimulus money paying for signs announcing funded projects,”

    Bloomington Pantagraph, May 12, 2009.

  • Parking lot that no one wants. In Macomb, Illinois, $643,945 was spent on a Prairieview public housing parking lot that no one wants. Many of the residents that the parking lot was supposed to benefit have protested it. Explaining his concern, a local resident said,

    “The kids love the grass. We’ve got enough pavement here.”(72)

    (72) Steelman, Lainie, “Parking under protest at Prairieview,” Macomb Journal, June 10, 2009.

  • Illinois will spend $350,000 to build a four-person bunkhouse at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. (75)

    The median price for a home in Marion, Illinois, the site of the park, is currently $71,000. (76)

    (75) Crab Orchard refuge gets federal stimulus money.” The Southern, April 27, 2009.

    (76), search for “Marion, Illinois,” accessed June 12, 2009.

  • Rather than help welfare recipients obtain jobs and escape poverty, $1 million will be used to study whether 300 people in Chicago are healthier when living in “green” public housing facilities. The study will evaluate whether building green housing is healthier for people and will focus on 300 residents at a Chicago public housing facility. Researchers expect to find that residents living in these more energy-efficient facilities will have much lower healthcare costs. This study will create interviewing jobs.(80)

    (80) Sachs, Peter, “UIC gets $1M grant to study ‘green’ housing,” Chi-Town Daily News, May 08, 2009.

If you would like to learn more, here is Senator Colburn’s publication.

Other Midwestern examples can be found here.

I wonder if the four-person Crab Orchard bunk house will turn out to be a vacation getaway for the political class, as some state DNR facilities were for Illinois politicians. Goose and duck hunting were the draw for the relatively luxurious state-owned facilities.

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Thanks for Respuublica for pointing the way to this story.

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