Signs Ordered For Roads That Received Certain Funding

0
671

Hello everyone! Gather around because this one’s a doozy.

The White House has stirred up a hornet’s nest with its latest order for federal agencies to install thousands of signs along the nation’s highways praising President Joe Biden. This directive has Republican Senator Joni Ernst seeing red, accusing the administration of using taxpayer dollars to fund what she calls “public financing for the president’s own campaign.”

Back in February 2023, the Executive Office of the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) strongly encouraged federal awarding agencies to require grant recipients, such as local governments, to put up signs. These signs are based on the “Official Investing in American Emblem Style Guide” and are meant to inform taxpayers about how federal funds are being spent, supposedly advancing the goals of accountability and transparency.

But here’s the kicker: the signs credit Biden for acts passed by Congress, which Ernst argues are essentially campaign signs paid for by taxpayer money. She wrote to OMB Director Shalanda D. Young, calling the signs absurd and stating, “Political campaign signs are not infrastructure. They do nothing to improve our roads or bridges and it’s obvious their real intent is only to pave the way for Biden’s re-election.”

The signs, which laud Biden for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, have sparked a fierce debate. Critics argue they violate laws requiring agencies to disclose how much taxpayer money was spent on a project. Ernst even suggested in her letter that the administration should also put up signs highlighting the embarrassments of Biden’s spending, such as the costly electric vehicle charging stations and the overpriced San Francisco rail extension project.

For example, she sarcastically proposed a sign next to the seven electric vehicle charging stations, declaring, “This billion-dollar boondoggle brought to you by President Biden!” She also suggested a sign for the San Francisco rail extension project, which has ballooned to a staggering $8.3 billion, calling it “one of the most expensive transit projects in the world.”

The controversy doesn’t stop there. The signs may also violate the Highway Beautification Act, which limits signage on federal highways. Ernst has asked the OMB to disclose the cost of these signs and whether there was a legal determination on whether they misuse government resources for political purposes.

Adding fuel to the fire, Ernst pointed out that massive federal spending has led to inflation, wiping out any benefits of the stimulus package. She noted that highway construction costs have soared nearly 70 percent since Biden took office, meaning the actual amount put towards transportation could be significantly reduced over the next five years.

Ernst has successfully inserted provisions into federal law requiring all projects funded by the White House and other agencies to disclose their costs. She urged the OMB to comply with these transparency requirements, emphasizing the need for clear statements on the dollar amount of federal funds used for each project.

As the debate over these signs rages on, it’s clear that the battle over public perception and the use of taxpayer dollars is far from over. Stay tuned, folks, because this political drama is just heating up!