April 2nd, 2009 | Published in Google Public Policy
Visualizing where federal tax dollars are actually being spent can be a daunting task. Consider the TARP Capital Purchase Program, through which the government has already distributed hundreds of billions of dollars to banks across the country. Or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which contains nearly a trillion dollars in spending and is several hundred pages long (not exactly beach reading).
Enter Google Maps.
This week the Treasury Department released a Google Maps mashup of TARP recipients nationwide. The mashup allows engaged citizens to easily review which local, regional, and national banks are participating in the Capital Purchase Program and how much money they've received:
View FinancialStability.gov - Transaction Data in a larger map
Last week Rep. Doris Matsui (CA) launched a new Google Maps mashup highlighting where stimulus dollars will be spent in her Sacramento-area district:
View Larger Map
Meanwhile, the GOP is using Google Maps to pinpoint congressional earmarks. Earlier this month Republican Hill staffer Tom Jones created a series of maps mashups that outline earmark spending. Here's a map outlining earmarks in the Transportation and Housing Section of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill:
View Larger Map
Jones created similar maps for the FY09 Labor, Health, and Human Services, Energy and Water, and Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bills.
It's great to see policymakers using Google Maps to make government spending more accessible to taxpayers. Do you know of other Maps mashups that are being used to track federal spending? Let us know in the comments.