President Obama sought to fund “shovel ready” projects with the 2009 stimulus, so the federal government spent $29 million in taxpayer money to dig a port in Alaska that has no roads connecting it to other towns.
“It’s not normal,” Steve Boardman of the Army Corps of Engineers civil projects division told KUCB (Alaska). “And it has prevented the construction of harbors in the past, when that supporting infrastructure is not there.” Boardman explained that they were able to build the port in part because “the project was ‘shovel-ready’ when $29 million of federal stimulus money became available in 2009,” as KUCB put it.
Construction of a road to connect the “port” to the nearest town two miles away won’t begin for years, but the federal government is now committed either to losing the money spent already or having to lay out even more cash to build that road.
And it’s an expensive road — current estimates put the cost at $11 million per mile.