America’s 20 Biggest Money Wastes Ever

America's 20 Biggest Money Wastes Ever

Setting your tax dollars inside a dumpster and lighting it on fire would be too efficient for a government. So instead, the feds are spending your hard earned money on projects like these.

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No. 20 – Pruitt-Igoe Housing Projects, St. Louis, Mo.

How Much Has Been Spent: $36 million
Why It’s a Boondoggle: It was supposed to replace the city slums and became a slum itself. The high maintenance fees and even higher crimes kept the folks it was intended for from actually living there. The projects were destroyed less than 20 years after being built.

No. 19 – ‘Road to Nowhere,’ Izembek national Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

How Much Has Been Spent: $81.5 million
Why It’s a Boondoggle: Originally constructed to connect commercial fishing operations to a nearby shipping point, the infamous “Road to Nowhere” is basically a 3.2-mile gravel road through a protected wilderness area that no one uses and which will cost another $75.8 million to finish.

No. 18 – Columbia River Crossing, Oregon/Washington border

How Much Has Been Spent: $190 million
Why It’s a Boondoggle: The bridge was suppose to be an upgrade to the portion of Interstate 5 connecting the two states, but after spending a combined $190 million (and with estimates as high as another $10 billion to complete), Washington backed out on its end of the deal

No. 17 – City Sewer System, Baltimore, Md.

How Much Has Been Spent: $1.1 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: Baltimore has spent $700 million already since 2002 and is on the hook for at least another $400 million to hopefully keep human waste out of its streams.

No. 16 – Inner Belt Bridges and Porstmouth Bypass, Cleveland, Ohio

How Much Has Been Spent: $1.2 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: After having spent more than a half billion on the Inner Belt Bridges near Cleveland (only the westbound has yet to open, mind you), the state of Ohio is finding out that the projected cost of a bypass around the city of Portsmouth was actually almost three times as much as originally anticipated: $1.2 billion instead of $429 million.

No. 15 – Interstate H-3, Oahu, Hawaii

How Much Has Been Spent: $1.3 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: Besides being an interstate in a state that’s an island, H-3 took almost 30 years to begin construction after being OK’d in 1960, and is credited as being the most expensive highway per-mile due to the costs of building on and tunneling through the island’s unique geography.

No. 14 – I-95 Bridge, West Haven and Branford, Conn.

How Much Has Been Spent: $2 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: The project began in 2000 and was intended to widen a 13-mile stretch of I-95 and replace the Pearl harbor Memorial Bridge. However, the $800 million project that was supposed to be finished in 2012 has become a $2 billion project that won’t be completed until 2018.

No. 13 – Teton Dam, Rexburg, Idaho

How Much Has Been Spent: $2 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: After 40 years of planning, construction in the dam began in 1972. Four years later, it collapsed as it was being filled for the first time, killing 11 and devastating several nearby towns.

No. 12 – Revel Casino*, Atlantic City, N.J.

How Much Has Been Spent: $2.4 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: The casino was supposed to be a symbol of a revitalized Atlantic City casino scene, but instead ended up being it’s biggest disaster. It opened in 2012, never made a profit and was sold off in 2015 for about $82 million – a $2.3 billion loss.

No. 11 – Marble Hill Nuclear Power Plant, Jefferson County, Ind.

How Much Has Been Spent: $2.8 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: Construction began in 1977 but was abandoned before finishing due to high construction costs.

No. 10 – Bertha, Seattle, Wash.

How Much Has Been Spent: $3.1 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: The tunneling machine known as “Bertha” was supposed to replace State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct with an underground tunnel route from roughly Seattle’s NFL Stadium to the Space Needle. The project was supposed to be completed in November 2015, but after the gigantic drill broke down inside the tunnel and got stuck for two years, that timeline got thrown out the window.

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No. 9 – Route 200 Intercounty Connector, Baltimore, Md.

How Much Has Been Spent: $4 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: The 19 mile highway was supposed to cost $1 billion, but projections had ballooned to four times that price by the time the first segment opened in 2014.

No. 8 – Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, Tennessee

How Much Has Been Spent: $4 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: When announced in 1966, the nuclear plant was intended to have 17 reactors. Nearly 50 years later, only one has gone online.

No. 7 – North Beltline, Alabama

How Much Has Been Spent: $5.4 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: The six-lane, 52-mile highway is supposed to ease congestion near Birmingham. Construction began in 2014, however it won’t finish until 2054 at the earliest, which some residents feel is too long to wait.

No. 6 – Denver FasTracks, Denver, Colo.

How Much Has Been Spent: $5.5 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: In 2004, voters approved the funding of 122 miles of commuter rail tracks and 57 new stations. It was supposed to be the largest rail expansion project in America, however enough funding to finish the project isn’t available and might not be until 2040. Instead of asking for more money, the project was scaled back.

No. 5 – Texas Super Collider, Texas

How Much Has Been Spent: $11 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: When designs were approved for this particle accelerator in 1987, it was believed to be capable of generating 20 times the power of any other machine. However, the cost ballooned quickly from $4.4 billion to $11 billion and the project was shut down in 1993 with less than a fourth of the construction completed.

No. 4 – The Big Dig, Boston, Mass.

How Much Has Been Spent: $14.5 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: The infamous highway project has greatly reduced traffic in Boston, however an unplanned extra eight years of construction jacked the total cost of construction from $2.6 billion to $14.5 billion, and interest from loans could cost another $10 billion.

No. 3 – Second Avenue Subway – New York, N.Y.

How Much Has Been Spent: $20 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: A much-needed Second Ave subway line has been talked about since the ’20s. Finally, construction began in 2007, but only the first phase has been funded and no one knows when futures sections will be completed. When or if it’s completed, the per mile price tag should be somewhere around $2.23 billion.

No. 2 – Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, Nevada

How Much Has Been Spent: $38 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: Nevada residents were not pleased when Yucca Mountain was chosen as a nuclear repository site in the late ’80s. In 2010, the Obama Administration shut the project down after $15 billion had already been spent, wtih another $23 billion in debt still owed.

No. 1 – California High-Speed Rail, Southern California

How Much Has Been Spent: $68 billion
Why It’s a Boondoggle: A bullet train could greatly reduced Southern California’s notoriously bad traffic. Construction on the first 29-mile segment began in early 2015, a full seven years after voters approved funding, but by then the projected $33 billion cost had more than doubled. Only a little more than a third of total funding has been accounted for and some opponents already are trying to get the project killed altogether.

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Photo Credit: Chron.com

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