It’s a start.
News came this week that Independence and Blue Springs are each in line to get funding for one road project under the federal stimulus plan. Blue Springs should get $378,061 to help pay for resurfacing Adams Dairy Parkway from Duncan Road to Moreland School Road, and Independence stands to get $1.44 million to build a piece of Jackson Drive from Holke Road north to Missouri 7.
Does that sound like a drop in the $787 billion bucket? This round of money, for example, is being divvied up by the Mid-America Regional Council, which oversees transportation funding across the metro area. Cities and counties had submitted extensive wish lists to MARC. The Independence wish list alone comes to $188.68 million, for projects ranging from rebuilding the intersection of 23rd Street and Noland Road ($1.06 million) to added sidewalks ($40 million) to addressing water damage at City Hall ($2 million). Yet MARC only has about $30 million right now in stimulus money for the entire Kansas City area.
More money will be on the way, and not just for road work. There’s more for community development block grants, which local governments give to any number of community groups. There’s more for schools, but state officials are still trying to figure out how that will be dispersed.
The whole idea here is to quickly, effectively push the economy ahead, but the reality is that money has to work its way through bureaucracies and legislatures. For the sake of accountability, that’s important. But it means some money is as “spend ready” and the projects that are “shovel ready” – and some will take a while.
Start the backhoes: Stimulus funds begin flowing in
It’s a start.