Senator Ernst Takes Aim at "Billion Dollar Boondoggles"

Yesterday, Senator Ernst (R-IA) introduced the "Billion Dollar Boondoggle Act." The bill is a commonsense way to enhance Congressional oversight of over-budget and behind-schedule projects. NTU urges Congress to pass this important legislation to help reduce cost overruns and delays that devalue taxpayer investments and divert resources away from high-priority projects.

This is a persistent problem across the federal government, from US Army Corps of Engineers projects like the Olmsted Locks and Dam (26 years behind schedule and more than $2 billion over budget) to the Pentagon’s troubled F-35 program (at least six years behind schedule, and total acquisition costs about $173 billion over initial estimates with major deficiencies in already delivered airframes yet to be resolved).

Until recently, one of the most notorious “boondoggles” was the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX) at the Savannah River site. At $17 billion, more than ten times the original estimate of $1.6 billion, construction delays grew to 41 years. Last year’s decision by the Department of Energy to finally wind down the program, after having been given that option by Congress, demonstrates that oversight works.