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By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 4:19 p.m. ET, the federal government Web site that tracks economic stimulus spending, relaunched Monday with several new features designed to improve the government's ability to prevent and stop potential waste, fraud and abuse.

The site now allows users to track stimulus spending down to the zip code-level with the use of an interactive mapping tool. Users can also brush up on stimulus and government contracting terms by using the site's glossary and submit reports of waste, fraud and abuse through an online reporting tool. (Watch the instructional video above.) Concerned citizens can also call or fax the RAT Board with tips at 1-877-FWA-DESK or 1-877-FAX-FWA2, respectively.

“The new Web site will be very interactive and user-friendly and will allow the public to find detailed information on projects in their states, congressional districts, and even in their own neighborhoods,’’ said Earl E. Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. The panel was established earlier this year as part of the $787 billion stimulus plan to operate the Web site and coordinate government anti-fraud efforts.

“Today’s launch of the latest version of marks a significant step forward in our efforts to provide unprecedented transparency and accountability of Recovery Act dollars at work," Vice President Joseph Biden said in a statement.

"I applaud the work of Earl Devaney and his team at the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board leveraging the latest technology to provide the public with more information about their taxpayer dollars at work than with any previous program in the history of our government."

The site pulls together spending data from federal agencies, recipients of stimulus money and from and It also will soon post data reported to, where stimulus recipients must start submitting reports early next month.

Good government critics blasted the RAT Board and General Services Administration this summer for not releasing details of the contract to build and design the new site. The contract with Smartronix could cost up to $18 million if the government exercises all options on the agreement. The GSA eventually released the contract's details, revealing that Smartronix and three subcontractors would redesign the site, build the mapping software, provide the capacity to store massive amounts of data and provide the necessary security.

Despite the relaunch, competes with several stimulus-tracking sites, including, which provides the political spin, and (which are both operated by government services company Onvia) and ProPublica's aggressive Eye on the Stimulus reporting project.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | September 28, 2009; 12:18 PM ET
Categories:  Tracking the Stimulus  
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