U.S. Senators Tom Coburn and John McCain criticized the way stimulus funds were spent saying the stimulus has done little to create jobs or prioritize worthwhile projects.
Three stimulus funded projects in Oklahoma were on Coburn's top 100 list of wasteful stimulus projects including a project that grants $1.8 million to Oklahoma River cruises.
Coburn and McCains said that money should have been used to fix some of Oklahoma's deficient bridges.
By Jennifer Loren, The Oklahoma Impact Team
WASHINGTON -- Seven billion taxpayer dollars wasted, that is what Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn said he's outlined in another list of 100 wasteful stimulus projects.
In fact, a couple of the projects on the senator's list were first investigated by the Oklahoma Impact Team.
Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn questioned the Obama administration's use of stimulus money on specific projects.
Coburn and Senator McCain claimed the stimulus is doing little to create jobs or prioritize worthwhile projects.
The Oklahoma Impact Team delved into a list of continuing coverage following stimulus tax dollars.
From one to 100, it lists stimulus projects that are important to those receiving the money, but Senators Tom Coburn and John McCain said those people do not represent most Americans.
"The question is, is when we run $1.4 trillion deficits, the money we spend ought to be a high priority for the American people as a whole," Coburn said.
Coburn said this list is full of projects that are not a priority and do not create jobs. Three Oklahoma projects are highlighted in the list.
Including a $90,000 grant for OU researchers to study how birds parent their offspring and compare that to human behavior.
The Oklahoma Impact Team was cited as the senators questioned the use of stimulus funds to study grandparents in Alaska. A story the Impact Team discussed months ago.
Coburn used it as an example to show the lack of federal priorities, trickling down to his own state.
"Most of the money's going to be spent on travel back and forth between Stillwater and Alaska rather than giving that grant to somebody in Alaska or Washington state or somewhere else that are also qualified to do that which is not a priority right now," Coburn said.
Also on the list, a story by the Impact Team discussed the Oklahoma River Cruises in Oklahoma City getting $1.8 million in transportation-related funding.
The senators called the project wasteful because the money came from the same stimulus budget that could have paid to repair Oklahoma's deficient bridges.
"We didn't list the projects when we passed the stimulus bill. We just passed it and gave them a blank check and that's how you end up with this kind of stuff," McCain said.
McCain's state was no different, Arizona also made the list with two scientific studies totaling close to $1 million on ants.
"I had no idea that so much expertise concerning ants resided in the universities of my state. And I must say, I say that with an element of pride, but I'm not sure that it is deserving of these taxpayer dollars," McCain said.
Finally, the senators cited Reuters research that claimed for every one job the stimulus has created, the government has spent an average of $246,000.
"I think it's pretty clear that billions and billions and billions, as much as fifty already, have been spent on projects that don't create jobs. That's really really bad news for Americas taxpayers," McCain said.
The Oklahoma Impact Team is continuing to follow stimulus dollars in Oklahoma.
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