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Raleigh chasing federal stimulus money

Posted December 16, 2008

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— Mayor Charles Meeker said Tuesday that Raleigh will work hard in the coming months to grab its fair share of federal dollars for infrastructure projects under the stimulus package proposed by President-elect Barack Obama.

City officials have identified 44 projects that are far enough along in the design and permitting stage to be ready for construction in six to 12 months if federal funding were available, Meeker said.

"We are putting forward projects that are either unfunded or partially funded," he said. "We're not really sure how (the stimulus is) going to work, but we will have our projects ready. We have them ready to work, however the federal government wants to to fully participate in this stimulus program."

In addition to traditional road projects and the $226 million Clarence Lightner Public Safety Center downtown, the city's list include several "green" projects that could receive priority funding under the stimulus package, such as solar-powered LED lighting in downtown parking garages and municipal parks, solar-powered water heaters at Raleigh Fire Department stations and a large solar array at the city wastewater treatment plant that could generate up to 3 megawatts of electricity.

"I'm confident we will get some money," Meeker said. "The question is whether it will be a substantial amount that allows us to go ahead with eight to 10 projects and not just one or two."

City Manager Russell Allen and Angel Wright-Feldman, who works in Allen's office, will lobby congressmen David Price, Bob Etheridge and Brad Miller and new U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan to ensure Raleigh gets its piece of the stimulus pie, Meeker said.

Raleigh's per capita amount of a $50 billion stimulus package would be $50 million, he said, noting that would be enough to create thousands of local jobs.

"The kinds of projects we're proposing will put people to work," he said.

City officials said they hope the federal money comes straight to them and isn't routed through the state. The money can be put to work more quickly and can't be diverted if it goes directly to cities and counties, they said.

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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 17, 2008

    Refund the federal stimulus to the taxpayers which the money belongs to instead of wasting it on pork barrel projects.

    Contrary to what Bill Clinton said when he vetoed a bill reducing taxes, the taxpayers can best spend the money.

    Government just gets in the way.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Dec 17, 2008

    If you're against "welfare", how do you rationalize this?

    And to veyor, who wants anarchy... LOL ...did you enjoy your (mostly) safe food and water this morning? ...or the (somewhat) clean air that you're breathing? ...and your price-regulated utility costs? Who would you call when you get robbed, crashed into or ripped off? ;-)

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Dec 17, 2008

    I'm baffled by the bias in each direction. First, the $50 million would be wasted if we held it to pay salaries for 62 people for 20 years. The point is to get projects moving that support other jobs. We're counting on the multipler effect as the money moves through the economy.

    And why in the world would Raleigh not ask for it's fair share of stimulus money that will be sent somewhere? What, you want to help stimulate NY's economy, but not ours? Oppose the stimulus package, but when it passes Raleigh and NC in general need to get our fair share.

    I agree Meeker has pet projects that should be left to the private sector, but that doesn't mean he is always wrong. I'd rather pay less taxes and let the leftover money stimulate the economy, but we've done that a couple of times. What's the harm in trying another approach that leaves us with infrastructure improvements?

  • Bob3425 Dec 17, 2008

    ericeric99-- while I agree with you jobs are needed, however the American need to start producing products that can be sold here and overseas. I would also say we need to work on our country and state infrastructures, road, bridges,communication and power distribution networks..

  • ghimmy51 Dec 16, 2008

    I sure hope they get it. I have a job waiting on a project up there. It's going to be a lean Christmas.

  • odiesnitch Dec 16, 2008

    "Ya, that new convention center was a great idea..."
    citizen782

    I could not agree more. Imaging how far the 222 MILLION could have gone to these other projects Meeker says we "need." Guess we also needed a new convention center that will fail miserably like the last one did. IF our mayor, along with the council members who also approved of the new "pink elephant", had seen the difference between what we NEED vs. what THEY WANTED, we'd have a good bit of funds available for these projects. Sadly we now own another building that can't fund itself.

  • stag15m4 Dec 16, 2008

    According to the US Treasury's website, the outstanding public debt is well over 10 trillion. Start paying that back...like a credit card... and buy our country back. Quit these spending sprees and make what we have count. I liked the Idea about hiring new workers at 40,000 per year. Unfortunately, the state would waste that on people who are hired not because they can do the job or will do the job, but the ones who help them meet their quotas.

  • WRALblows Dec 16, 2008

    Ya, that new convention center was a great idea...

  • veyor Dec 16, 2008

    The states all need to tar and feather the federal government and run them out on a rail instead of standing at the trough like hogs.

  • Funky Neighbor LEE Dec 16, 2008

    This is embarassing. Meeker has Raleigh's tin cup out.

    Overspending is what created the real estate bubble, the fix the gov is doing is the same thing that created the problem.

    If gov hadn't overspent in good times they, (we), would afford to pump the economy. It's going to haunt us.

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