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U.S. taxpayers funding Microsoft campus bridge

Microsoft is getting $11 million in stimulus funds for an employee bridge, connecting two areas of the corporate headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Is this a judicious use of our taxes?

With $20 billion in the bank, one would think that Microsoft could afford to build out its own campus. But in a sign of just how "porky" the U.S. federal stimulus bill has become, the city of Redmond, Wash., will be spending $11 million to build a bridge connecting two areas of Microsoft's Redmond campus, as Bloomberg reports.

That's right. One of the richest companies on the planet is using taxpayer money to fund a bridge that arguably benefits no one except its own employees (and visitors). Company spokesman Lou Gellos told Bloomberg that the 480-foot span "is a mobility improvement for the area as a whole" because a congested bridge nearby is not good for walking or bicycling.

Whether the use of stimulus spending toward corporate infrastructure is proper isn't a question of open source versus proprietary. It's a question of wise stewardship of taxpayer funds. Microsoft isn't short of cash. It can build its own bridge.

Yes, Microsoft will contribute roughly half of the total $36.5 million total building cost, but it seems incredible that the company isn't funding all of it, given its resources--and given that the project helps only Microsoft.

Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.