In December, Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker held a press conference to present dozens of “shovel ready” infrastructure projects that could help create jobs under then-President-elect Obama’s stimulus plan (see the full list below). Now that the president has unveiled that plan and congress passed it last week, city leaders are scaling back their hopes for stimulus money.
The mayor asked City Manager Russell Allen to track the stimulus bill and push for Raleigh’s share. In an interview last week, Allen said most of the projects in the mayor’s package won’t qualify for stimulus funding. Allen said new CAT busses and a “much needed maintenance facility” could qualify for money from the funds sent to the state out of the stimulus bill.
Allen said that he doubts funds will be available for major building projects like The Clarence Lightner Public Safety Center, the new tower slated to replace the current police headquarters, “but we will try.”
“We’re still tracking it,” Allen said, adding, “We don’t have all the answers at this point.” Allen said he’s staying in touch with the state’s legislative delegation in Washington and looking for new grant programs from state and federal agencies. Some of those agencies, Allen said, are asking for project lists from city and local governments and Raleigh will send in project proposals as those opportunities become available.
Allen said he still hopes to get what he called “green money” to fund sustainability projects at city facilities.
Governor Bev Perdue recently appointed former Raleigh manager and state Department of Health and Human Services head Dempsey Benton to oversee the $6.1 billion the state received out of the stimulus plan.