The pressure is on Washington to spend that $862 billion in stimulus funds. Uncle Sam has doled out only $300 billion so far, so now they want to waste more of your money to expand a sleepy customs border station in Forest City, Maine; year-round population: Five.
The current station is sizable, with radiation detectors and a private residence for customs agents. Although only 5 cars cross the border on an average day, the Feds want to build additional residences, even though no one lives in the current one. They also want to add parking, but these ambitious plans call for more land than the government owns.
Jane Johnson is one of Forest City's 5 residents. Johnson says the government wants to take half of her property. The parking lot would be within 12 feet of her home.
Dale Wheaton owns Wheaton's Lodge, a fishing camp. Wheaton's land is also under scrutiny. Like Johnson, Wheaton refuses to allow government surveyors onto his property. But he is realistic about his chances against the government.
"I learned in primary school not to pick on people that are bigger than you because they usually beat the living crap out of you. And they’re gonna beat the crap out of me too."
The customs station is only open from 8 am to 4 pm and it’s closed Sundays. Johnson says that even if it did need expansion…
"That’s not going to stop any terrorists from coming into this country. They can come across the lake, they can come through the woods, they can come across the stream."
But that Recovery Act stimulus money must be spent. Homeland Security tells us that the expansion will address a “critical national security need.” But none of the five folks in Forest City believe that. Bob Parker told us:
"Somebody in Washington has decided we need to spend this stimulus money by Sept 30. Let’s go spend some of it in Forest City, Maine."
Ten million dollars to expand a barely-used customs station? Give me a break.