In a letter presented to Congress last week, signed by individuals and organisations including the Open Knowledge Foundation, the US government has been urged to restore funding to the Electronic Government Fund, “which provides critical support for the construction of a more transparent and efficient government and serves as a building block for private-sector innovations that create high-tech jobs.”

From the letter:

The E-Gov Fund has a proven track record of successful transparency projects that have delivered efficiency improvements and increased government accountability. For instance, USAspending.gov and the IT Dashboard have helped root out government waste and inefficiency and recently led to the elimination of some $3 billion in failing technology projects. PaymentAccuracy.gov shines a light on improper federal payments, which total billions of dollars each year, and Challenge.gov provides a low-cost platform to help agencies bring the public in to identify more efficient solutions to problems facing the country.

In addition, E-Gov Fund projects provide the framework for vibrant private-sector business and job creation. The thousands of government data sets now available through Data.gov are building blocks for innovative new IT products. For instance, the search engine Bing now integrates Medicare quality ratings into searches for hospitals. Brightscope, a start-up company, has raised $2 million in venture capital and created 30 jobs through their analysis of retirement plan data from the Department of Labor. From improved travel information to disaster relief, many benefits come from the federal government sharing information with the public in user-friendly ways.

You can read the full letter and find out who else has signed up on the OMB Watch website.

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Theodora is press officer at the Open Knowledge Foundation, based in London. Get in touch via press@okfn.org