Recovery Act Website: $6.8 million. Moving Towards a Transparent Government? Priceless

Here's a little news tidbit from the Recovery Board: in his latest "Chairman's Corner" post, Recovery Board Chairman Earl Devaney disclosed that the website has thus far cost $6.8 million. This is out of a $9.5 million contract with Smartronix, a Maryland IT company, meaning that the Board has about another $2.7 million left in its contract. After that, the Board has the option of extending the contract through 2014, for about another $9 million. Now, $6.8 million isn't exactly cheap, but for creating a website to show a brand new type of reporting in an extremely compressed time frame, it's not too bad.

Devaney divulged this information while addressing a variety of rumors and myths about the Board. In particular, he was trying to dispel the rumor that the current cost $18 million, which in reality is the cost of the entire extended contract, not the just the website we see today. The other myths and rumors Devaney addresses are less newsworthy, including the "phantom" congressional districts myth (awards just had incorrect ZIP codes) and whether the Board allocates Recovery funds (it does not; that's what Congress and the federal agencies are for). But it's still a good example of how a non-partisan, independent government agency can try to fight pervasive rumors and spread the truth, without becoming overly politicized.

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