Cincinnati has wish list for stimulus package

By Dan Wells - bio | email


The economic stimulus package isn't even a reality yet, but Cincinnati city council already has plans on how to spend it's share of the money.

A good chunk of that possibly billion dollar package would be intended for what President Obama calls "shovel ready projects."

It turns out we may have a few around here.

Mayor Mark Mallory has already submitted this list that totals $332 million in local spending requests.

It includes $10 million for a riverfront park as part of the Banks project; $4 million for street scape projects in Over-the-Rhine and Oakley; $5 million for Lunken Airport improvements; and 12.6 million for a street car network, just to mention a few.

Lobbying for federal money takes a lot of paperwork before getting down to the grunt work.

So the Cincinnati City Council Rules and Governing Committee is now working through the process, trying to get a piece of the $900 billion stimulus package, which is still under review in the U.S. Senate.

"The information on when and how much money are going to be spent are yet to be determined and yet to be finalized," said Chris Eilerman with the Cincinnati City Manager's Office.

"The timing on this is critical, which is why we had the hearing today just to make sure the city administration the lobbyist the elected officials and other public stake holders, that all of us are working from the same information in terms of the process," said councilmember Jeff Berding.

But there's still a lot of preparation work.

"Once the bill is approved then the city will have to apply through the federal government or the state government through the governors office to be funded, so basically its a two phase project so right now all they're doing is approving the categories - the amounts of money and the process - the projects come next," said Berding.

So what are the most crucial projects here in the Queen City the mayor has his plan, but it maybe changing?

"In term of which project is most important, with in a specific program I think that will be a discussion that we will have with city council perhaps and certainly with the various department that will have to administer that money at this point I think its too early to tell," said Eilerman.

"We learned that legislation will not have earmarks in it," said Berding. "There will not be money for the Banks, there will not be money for street cars or for a bridge, that it will be in categories. There will be so much for transportation, medical records, energy efficiency and the like."