Shortly after the $787 billion stimulus bill passed last year, the Federal Highway Administration issued guidance to states receiving funds about the layout and color of signs they wanted placed on projects funded by the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."
Signs began popping up on highway projects across the country, costing states thousands of dollars. Illinois spent a total of $650,000 on 950 signs. Washington, D.C. bought one sign for $10,000. Pennsylvania spent $157,477 on 70 signs. Tennessee bought 324 signs for $12,931.
Some states, including Florida, Vermont, Arizona, Virginia and Alabama, opted to not spend funds on signs advertising the law. "We decided that we were going to take all the money that we got from our stimulus projects and put it into the road," said Jeff Caldwell, chief of communications for the Virginia Department of Transportation.
California Rep. Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is probing into what was required of states and jurisdictions about sign construction.
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., introduced a resolution in the House that he summarized as saying, "We don't need to tell the American people with propaganda sings that we're spending their tax dollars wisely."
The House rejected the proposal.
State governments are estimated to be using millions of dollars to put up the signs that say what a great job they are doing spending money. Specifically, money from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also know as the stimulus law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last year. The signs advertise that particular projects are funded by taxpayer dollars, though some states opted to not buy the signs.