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One-week stimulus contract counted as creating two jobs

One-week stimulus contract counted as creating two jobs

May 7, 2010
May 7, 2010

A Caldwell contractor received $13,000 in "stimulus" money for a one-week gravel hauling contract for a road project in Owyhee County. The contract was awarded on Sept. 1, 2009, by the Bureau of Land Management. According to a spokeswoman for the BLM, the company began work on Sept. 9, and concluded on Sept. 16. Of that week, actual gravel hauling took place on four days.

David Williams, vice president for policy at Citizens Against Government Waste in Washington, D.C., said this is only one example of how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka, the “stimulus”) is not living up to its billing as a job creation plan. “You have the Obama administration saying that this is going to create long-term jobs, but no, the stimulus hasn’t done that, and this contract is a poster child for how the stimulus is not going to fundamentally help the country.”

His concern isn’t with the price of the contract, but the fact that short-term jobs are being passed off as permanent or long-term. Williams said it's hard to keep track of how long the jobs allegedly created by stimulus spending actually lasted. “The question that comes to my mind is how many more of these (small contracts) are there out there? What kind of oversight can you do when you have thousands of projects like this?”

According to the website stimuluswatch.org, the contract went to Mountain View Contracting of Caldwell. The grant description cites “Work consists of the delivery of 1,140 cubic yards of 3/4' minus road mix to two Hemingway Butte sites located along Reynold's Creek Road, Owyhee County, Idaho.” The project summary citation specifies “This project required two semi belly dump truck drivers to deliver and load materials. (Total jobs reported: 2)”.

The Obama administration’s website to track how stimulus money is used also counts the one-week contract as creating two jobs.

According to numbers cited by a representative with a competing gravel hauling company, $13,000 is roughly what it would have charged for the same job. The company representative said it charges $100 per hour for hauling, using a 16-cubic yard truck. The price for gravel is $5 per cubic yard. Repeated attempts to speak with the contractor were unsuccessful, so details of what that company charged the government are not known.

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