Local governments forced to erect signs praising Washington

Required sign at Hwy 85 and 37th St. in Evans stating the project was funded with Federal stimulus funds

Story and photo

Story and photo
by Jack Minor

Road signs, that some say are nothing more than propaganda for the Obama administration, are causing concern in our community.

The Environmental Protection Agency requires local governments to install the signs as a condition of receiving Federal funds.

Two of the signs are located in Evans and state “Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Governor Bill Ritter.” Similar signs around the country feature President Obama’s name.
Evans city engineer Cameron Parrott confirmed the requirement to erect the signs and said the cost was $819 per sign.

The sign also features a symbol that some have said bears a striking resemblance to the Obam campaign logo.
Attempts to get a total number of signs around the country has proved elusive. Seamus Kraft, a spokesman for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said requests to the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency board have been met with general estimates and approximations. “They cannot seem to agree on what has been spent, they say there is no accurate way to verify the expenditures.”

Letters sent to Rep. Darrell Issa’s office by several departments appear to bear this out. The Environmental Protection Agency responded that recipients of funds “are not required to report signage information and the agency “does not possess such information.” The General Services Administration expressed similar sentiments saying “signage costs are not identified as a separate line item… this makes it extremely difficult to accurately identify costs associated with individual project signs.”

The departments that did attempt to provide figures admitted they could not give an exact number. The Department of Commerce said the cost was “approximately $76,952” and that costs ranged from $25 to $1,950. Rep. Issa noted that the cost of one sign outside of Washington-Dulles airport cost $10,000.
“When the program was established, President Obama touted it saying citizens would be able to go online and see exactly where every dollar was being spent, however, when we asked for specifics regarding the cost of signage we see that is not the case,” Kraft said.

In an attempt to get more details ,Issa’s office has encouraged citizens to take pictures of stimulus signs in their area and email them to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency board did acknowledge receiving a significant number of concerns from citizens noting that, “40 percent of those with actionable complaints referenced the Recovery act signage.”


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