The vehicles are said to have cost taxpayers $4 million.

A mayoral candidate in Florida's Miami-Dade County has launched an investigation to determine why 293 brand new cars and trucks spent five to six years in a parking garage with almost no miles on them.

The cars were purchased by local government authorities and most were built in 2007. The fleet includes hybrids, police cars, pickup trucks, and vans. This massive "barn find" is said to represent about $4 million of taxpayer money.

Many involved in local government were vaguely aware that there were new cars hidden away in a parking garage, but nothing was done to remedy the situation.

A Miami-based news station stumbled upon the cars last October and questioned the city about them. To avoid creating a public scandal, city officials quickly put between 123 and 135 of the vehicles into service.

"We are making every effort to use these vehicles as soon as possible and reduce costs to taxpayers," said L├ęster Sola, the director of internal affairs, to Miami's El Nuevo Herald at the time. Sola added that the vehicles were still under warranty.

After that announcement the affair quickly died down and was largely forgotten. It made headlines again over the last week when it was discovered that there were still 170 dusty cars in the parking garage.

"It's outrageous," said Joe Martinez, a candidate for the office of county mayor. "This is not the first time this has happened. This is why we have to investigate and find out exactly what happened, so it doesn't happen again."

Photo taken by El Nuevo Herald.