Here are the ‘most bird-brained examples of waste in state government’

The Center of the American Experiment first began the Golden Turkey Award in 2020 by highlighting Gov. Walz's $6.9 million unused COVID-19 morgue.

Minnesota spent $6.45 million on a bus stop that saw eight riders per day before COVID. Now, buses don't even stop there. (Photo courtesy of Metro Transit)

The Center of the American Experiment is once again awarding its semi-annual Golden Turkey Award to one of four options of egregious government waste.

The award is given to the “most bird-brained examples of waste in state government” and began in 2020 with the first awardee being the $6.9 million dollar morgue purchased by Gov. Tim Walz that was intended for the bodies of those who died of COVID-19. The administration is now seeking to sell the morgue for only $5.6 million.

One of the award nominees is the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) grant to the University of Minnesota for $261,000 to design and implement a process “that will discourage bald and golden eagles from entering hazardous air space near wind energy installations.”

Another nominee is the Newport Transit Station that cost taxpayers $6.45 million and serves as the east metro’s “most expensive park-and-ride station [and] the least used,” according to a Pioneer Press article. The stop served around eight passengers a day before COVID-19 shut down service to the station altogether.

An I-94 Land Bridge Project Development that cost $6.2 million is yet another Golden Turkey nominee. The funds for this project were tucked into the Minnesota Legislature’s 2021 tax bill. The bridge seeks to connect Lexington Avenue to Rice Street, attempting to merge a neighborhood split by I-94 60 years ago.

The last nominee is the city of Minneapolis’ $2.5 million allocation to hire teams of “violence interrupters” that patrol the streets of Minneapolis in blaze orange to “interrupt” crime. The team members are paid $30 an hour and work five-hour shifts six nights a week.

This spring, the Center of the American Experiment granted the Golden Turkey Award to the $7.2 million Goose Creek rest stop, which is located on highway 35 between Duluth and the Twin Cities.

Voting is open to cast your vote for one of these four options.


Megan Olson
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Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.