Stimulus could fund local projects

29 01 2009


Diane Wagner | Rome News-Tribune

Local officials are prepared to seek federal stimulus funding for projects, although neither Rome nor Floyd County have prepared comprehensive lists.“I’ve heard other cities are doing it, but who do you give it to? Just send it to the White House?” City Manager John Bennett said.

Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — the stimulus package — funnel much of the money through various federal agencies to their state counterparts.

Bennett said if the Georgia Environmental Protection Division calls for projects, the city would submit plans for a sewer lift station on Horseleg Creek.

Rome also has a five-year plan to improve low-income sections of the city using federal entitlement funds. Some of those projects could be eligible for stimulus money flowing through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

The Georgia Department of Transportation also has a statewide list of “shovel-ready” road projects that includes center turn lanes on Ga. 53. The 411 Connector was a last-minute addition, but the state still needs to buy the right of way so it’s unlikely to fit the stimulus package requirements.

“Quite frankly, we don’t have a lot of projects that are ready to go,” Bennett said. “There are some street pavings, drainage work and sidewalk improvements we’d like to submit. But we don’t have plans for a new city hall, for example.”

County Manager Kevin Poe said the county is in a similar position. Officials are lobbying the DOT to add funding for the west leg of the South Rome bypass, he said, but it’s unclear what other projects could be eligible.

“The only thing that would be shovel-ready is the Armuchee Connector,” he said. “But we’re trying to stay away from federal dollars on that because there are more hoops to jump through.”

The $12-million road and bridge across the Oostanaula River that would link State Mutual Stadium with Old Summerville Road north of Rome is part of the 2006 special purpose, local option sales tax package.

Using stimulus money to pay for sidewalk and drainage projects on Lyons Drive and the Pennington Avenue area could, however, solve a looming problem for the city.

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