Taxpayers pay for traffic data. Then pay again.

 When you are spending taxpayer dollars we, the taxpayers, expect you to get the best value for every dime. Doesn’t happen. But it should. At the very least we expect you to hammer out hard bargains.

Apparently that didn’t happen when the FHWA hammered out a $54 million deal under the Transportation Technology Division Innovation Demonstration Program (TTID). The idea was that a private partner would install and operate technology that collects traffic data from public roads, most valuably real-time congestion data. To recoup uncovered costs the private company could work deals with local TV news and web traffic reporters. But the public would also get prime data from the deal. However, says an audit of the deal by the  U.S. DOT Inspector-General, the public got the short end of the stick. FHWA (aka in this case “the taxpayer”) does not get all the prime data, it gets what you might call leftovers. And it has to pay for that.

Read the Inspector-General’s report, or the New York Times story about it.