Washed Out to Sea: How Congress Prioritizes Beach Pork Over National Needs   [open pdf - 701KB]

"In light of infrastructure failures in the past five years, many have questioned Congress' ability to prioritize federal funds wisely and ensure national needs are addressed. […] Several years ago I was surprised to learn that 'beach nourishment' projects, which seek to maintain or enhance beaches by pumping sand-type sediment onto beaches, are one of these diversions that siphon funding from other infrastructure priotities [sic]. Roughly $100 million every year in federal funds is appropriated to ensuring coastal towns benefitting from lobbying and political influence on Capitol Hill maintain picturesque beaches for property owners and tourists. Congress has subverted the Corps [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] by pushing its own parochial initiatives such as beach projects to the front of the line even as major infrastructure in our county deteriorates and continues to fail. As part of my commitment to question how Washington spends your money, this report is one in a series of ongoing oversight reports on federal spending and management by government agencies. I hope agencies and other congressional committees alike will welcome this oversight and work with us to help identify even more areas of waste, fraud, and abuse, as well as new ways to better prioritize our nation's limited financial resources."

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Tom Coburn, M.D., U.S. Senator from Oklahoma: http://www.coburn.senate.gov/
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