Cap Metro is ready to spend federal stimulus money to expand the nanny-state governance encompassing the City of Austin. They now want to institute a smoking ban at all bus stops. The cost? $254,000. But that’s not the best part.

Spending $254,000 of federal stimulus money on a smoking ban for a bus stop is bad enough, but not really surprising. The Austin City Council had all but declared war on smoking in the city, first passing a city ordinance against smoking in privately owned restaurants and bars, then a permanent ban on smoking in city parks.

But here’s the kicker. Unlike the Austin City Council, Cap Metro has no lawmaking authority, and therefore no power to enforce this new smoking ban at bus stops across the city.

You read that right. Cap Metro is spending $254,000 on a smoking ban that is strictly voluntary.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the signs themselves would only cost about $6,000 total, while the plastic holders would cost about $55,000. The rest would all go to overtime pay for Cap Metro employees.

The federal funds being used to pay for the signs and installation must be spent by February 29th. Apparently Cap Metro thinks that money will just go up in smoke if they don’t spend it. Instead, they seem content to blow “smoke” in the face of taxpayers as they spend over a quarter of a million stimulus dollars on a ban they can’t enforce.

Wasteful spending is such a nasty habit, don’t you think?