An amendment Gregg introduced today would have ended the use of stimulus dollars to buy these "signs to nowhere," but instead met stiff opposition from Senate Democrats. Only five Democrats joined the Senate's 40 Republicans in voting for Gregg's amendment. In a written statement, Gregg lamented,
Considering the questionable effectiveness of the stimulus bill, it is completely unreasonable that signs are being constructed at a price tag of hundreds to thousands of dollars apiece for lawmakers to pat themselves on the back about this legislation.
These signs are simply for political self-interest, and it's high time we stop using stimulus dollars to fund them, and instead use these dollars for their intended purpose of creating economic activity.
Though the actual cost of these signs varies from state to state, Gregg estimates the total cost at anywhere between $6 and $20 million.
Fox News reports that California Senator Barbara Boxer (D) opposed the amendment, saying
[T]he signs help keep the public informed about federal projects. She argued the amendment was motivated by frustration on the part of Republicans who opposed the stimulus and now see that it's working. Only three Republican senators voted for the stimulus bill.
'They predicted gloom and doom. And let me tell you what's happening in this great nation of ours. We have a long way to go to get jobs up and running, there's no question about it. But the stimulus has already saved or created a million jobs,' she said.
'So now I think the issue here is a frustration with the fact that we won that vote and we got that done and those jobs are being created as we speak,' she said. 'Slowly, but surely, we're being lifted out of the darkness.'
Following the failed vote, Gregg was "flabbergasted."
'I just find it absurd that we're putting up all these signs all over the country with taxpayer money telling taxpayers we're spending their money,' he told FOX News. 'Most taxpayers can figure that out. We don't have to put up a sign and tell them we're spending their money.'