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Stimulus funding benefits Microsoft

REDMOND, Wash., March 31 (UPI) -- Allocating $11 million in federal stimulus spending for a bridge connecting two Microsoft Corp. campuses in Redmond, Wash., is drawing criticism.

The money awarded to the city is being used to cover a gap between $25 million existing public and private funding and the bridge's final cost of $36 million. Microsoft is kicking in $17.5 million for the bridge, which will pass over a public highway bisecting the two campuses.

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But even though the software giant is paying a large share of the project's cost, critics contend it is a good example of waste in the stimulus bill, CNN reported Tuesday.

"This is $11 million where we are substituting public money for private money, and that means there's some other project that would have a greater benefit than a bridge to Microsoft that's not being built," Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, told the broadcaster.

But Redmond Mayor John Marchione disagreed, noting Microsoft's contribution and pointing out that company employees will account for only 42 percent of the overall traffic.

"It's going create just under 400 jobs for 18 months constructing the bridge," he told CNN. "It's also connecting our technical sector with our retail and commercial sectors so people can cross the freeway to shop and help traffic flow."

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