Friday, October 24, 2014

Project Connect 'earns' dubious Government Waste 'award'

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

A friend in Senator Cruz's Austin office passed this along.

Every year, U.S. Senator Tom Coburn puts out a 'waste book' that details the most egrigious examples of government waste at the Federal level; guess who made the cut this year?!?

[Author's note: The piece on Project Connect is on page 61 of the report linked above.]

From the article:
WASTEBOOK 2014 61 An extensive, and expensive, rail project for the City of Austin, Texas, is getting some fiscal assistance from Washington. Project Connect, the program management group spearheading transit for the Central Corridor Advisory Group in central Texas, has spent $157,000 on an ad campaign to prop up public support to approve floating a billion dollar bond to help pay for the rail line.

The catch? Approximately 80% of the ad campaign is being financed with federal grant money, essentially using taxpayer money to encourage taxpayers to pay more taxes. Critics have voiced concerns over the media campaign’s funding sources and questioned want to know how it can be considered appropriate when “Taxpayers are paying money to the federal government, which is then turning around and lobbying Austinites to support more taxpayer spending.” The advertisements ended just before being subjected to provisions on election laws regarding ballot measures.

In addition to questions about how public funds have been used to shape public opinion, Project Connect changed the line route, invalidating public comments collected regarding the original plan. The change in route and need for a new round of public comments is required for Project Connect to seek additional funds from the Federal Transit Administration to finance the rail line.

Project Connect also spent time and money canvassing Austin with flyers that local groups claim provide misleading propaganda regarding the actual route and benefits of the line. Instead, they claim, the fliers are intended to gauge locals knowledge of Project Connect and encourage people to attend their open houses.

The potential bond could put Austinites on the hook for over $500 million.
 Congratulations Project Connect!!!

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