ByÂ Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times
As a thank-you to its most famous customer,Â Amtrak is renaming the train station in Wilmington, Del., after stimulus â€œsheriffâ€ Vice PresidentJoseph R. Biden â€” after the project received $20 million in stimulus money and came in $5.7 million over the initial announced budget.
ButÂ Amtrak said it alone made the decision to rename the station in honor of the vice president. The company also said its own budget projection was always greater than the $32 million theÂ White Houseannounced back in 2009 â€” thoughÂ Amtrak itself also listed the $32 million cost that year, later raising the price tag to $37.7 million.
PresidentÂ Obama, soon after signing the Recovery Act in early 2009, designatedÂ Mr. Biden his â€œsheriffâ€ overseeing the stimulus funds, charging him with regularly checking in with governors and mayors to try to prevent waste, fraud and abuse in the $821 billion economic recovery package.
In that role,Â Mr. Biden himself traveled toÂ Wilmington on May 4, 2009, to announce the $20 million in stimulus money as part of what theÂ White House billed a â€œ$32 million renovation and restorationâ€ of the century-old station.
â€œWe would not be spending a penny on it today without the Recovery Act,â€Â Mr. Biden said. â€œWe have no time to wait. We cannot wait. Thatâ€™s what the Recovery Act is about.â€
The vice president, who as a senator commuted daily by train from his home in Delaware to Washington, bragged he had made more than 7,000 round trips on the track. He said he â€œheavily influenced the amount of moneyâ€ that the stimulus sent to train projects.
Renaming the station is apparently legal â€”Â and is fitting in this case, saidLeslie Paige, spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste.
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