You might have heard that the 2008 presidential election was the most expensive election season in the history of the United States. Surprise, surprise—it’s being followed up with the most expensive inauguration.
The ceremony, which President-elect Barack Obama has attempted to make as accessible as possible, is expected to attract 1.5 to 2 million attendees—around three to four times the normal population of Washington, DC. In response, the outgoing Bush administration has declared a state of emergency in the District of Columbia. That decision allowed the allocation of emergency funds to cover the costs of the influx of people flooding the capital.
The inauguration will be preceded on the 18th by a free concert featuring Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Beyoncé. On the 19th, Obama and Biden will celebrate Martin Luther King Day at various events around Washington. The ceremony proper will begin at 10:00 AM (EST) on the steps of the Capitol building and the first African-American President of the United States of America will be sworn in by noon.
All told, the event is expected to cost over $150 million—more than three times the cost of President Bush’s inauguration in 2005. Forty-nine million of that has been budgeted by the federal government. The rest will be paid for by donations, including $43 million raised by Obama for the ceremony.