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Stimulus Watch: Track Federal Funding of Local Shovel-Ready Projects

This article was written by in Economy. 8 comments.

Once the stimulus bill is signed into law, states and cities will receive funding for local shovel-ready projects that may help stimulate the economy. The Stimulus Watch website has compiled all of these projects and is presenting them in a way that allows visitors to browse, search, and participate. The website contains a wiki, inviting citizens to review and comment upon any of the projects with which they are familiar. You can also cast a vote for each proposed project, resulting in a score that would determine how critical that project would be for the economy.

For example, the least critical project as voted by website visitors right now is a proposal described only as “doorbells” in Laurel, Mississippi.

The site also includes the each project’s cost to taxpayers. The most expensive project on the list is a plan to create energy efficient industrial zones in Cidra, Puerto Rico, at a cost of $17.5 billion.

Each project also contains an estimate of the number of jobs that would be created. A project to convert Los Angeles’s power needs to renewable energy sources, at a cost of $2.16 billion, would create 31,243 jobs.

Note that not all of the projects on this list will receive a grant from the stimulus bill. This is a “wish list” created by representatives across the United States (and apparently its territories), resulting from a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Check it out.

Published or updated February 5, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Peter

i’d like to see a ton of these things removed from the stimulus package. It’s turning into a porkfest for congress to slip in all their little pet projects under the guise that its a “stimulus” to the economy.

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avatar Luke Landes

Peter: None of these are actually *in* the stimulus package. The bill would send money to states and cities, and they will decide how to use the funds. This is their wish list. (Of course, you’re going to put more things on a wish list than you know you will receive.) These projects won’t be voted on by the U.S. Congress.

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avatar Rick

My problems with the “stimulus” package are manifold:
1. Any allocation of funds to the state and local level will not result in the job growth stated. It never occurs the way they say because of stickiness of funds (payments to bureaucrats instituting the plan reduce the overall benefit), payoffs and kickbacks (every shovel-ready job has a kickback involved), low salaries (it costs $67,500 for each job in the Los Angeles renewable energy package. The long term benefit is good, from the standpoint of renewable energy, EXCEPT that the costs and returns on renewable energy are currently FAR WORSE than fossil fuels. In addition, since the package is $67,500 per job created, that doesn’t mean each worker gets that much – capital costs have to be considered. Real wages will be closer to $30k – below poverty level)

2.Obama said it’s not his fault he inherited a debt that doubled over 8 years, and that this debt ’caused’ the current situation. He’s right, it’s not his fault. But it is his fault for assuming the debt caused the current mess…and for assuming MORE debt will fix it! In fact, it’s the height of hypocrisy. The last time I thought about my debt (mortgage), I realized I had to curtail spending in order to fix my shortfalls in cash flow….NOT take on more debt!!!

3.Money directed to projects that assume a long term payout are not always good “investments”. They may get people working, but not provide long term value. Much of the CCC in the 1930′s was geared toward social enlightenment and didn’t really provide lots of long term productive value…in fact, the costs of maintainance of some projects actually increased debt! Renewable energy may have a decent return someday, but it is nowhere near a good investment now (I know, I’ve looked into it for myself, the payoff is about 25-30 years). The government, in general, is not good at investing. It SHOULD look for areas of high return (improved roads, more hospitals, etc.) and invest there FIRST, and on a smaller level.

4.The concept of a stimulus is based on the idea that for every dollar the government spends, $1.5 is produced for the economy. This is a falsehood. The real return on every dollar is $.75, because of the friction imposed by taxes. So, in essence, the stimulus is really a “win votes” package, not an economic package. Stimulus packages CAN work…but this one is a disaster of major proportions. PORK and BEANS…

5. Stimulus packages, to work properly, must be timed to be phased in quickly and at an inflection point. We are past the inflection point, in all likelyhood. Or we’re not there yet. It depends on who you listen to. Either way, this package will be phased in over 18 months, which is far too long a time frame. (evidence of this – the 2008 stimulus package of tax rebates, which didn’t work because they came too early in the cycle)

6. The BEST stimulus package does 2 things – provides funds for high return vehicles (roads, hospitals, etc.) AND provides tax relief for those most in need (low and middle income wage earners). This package does not have much in the way of tax relief. Despite the best efforts of Republicans to make a moderately honest plan out of this garbage (eh, the whole thing is dishonest, but I’m trying to make it sound like it’s worth doing) have been rebuffed, ridiculed, and demeaned by the man who said he was working to develop “bipartisan” support.

I’m sorry, this is a package that simply increases our debt and consumption problems. It does nothing to advance society or improve the economy.

FWIW, I see the economy improving already. The journalists are doing a good job of painting a bleak picture, but remember – unemployment PEAKS AFTER the bottom has been reached! Why? Because businesses are reactive, not proactive.

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avatar Mark A. Holman

I don’t get you people, we have seen what a stimulas check that Bush gave out did for the economy (NOTHING). Now at least lets try and see what it will do for the states and cities before you cast judgement for our President Obama. If we don’t do it we know what we will get, (NOTHING) He has not been in the White House a month and all of this has taken place. Bush, and his Cronies was in there for 8 years messing up the whole U.S.A. and hardly nothing was said in the tune of (GET HIS ASS OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE, THIS IS NOT WORKING) Now I will admit, some of the things I have seen for the stimulas package that are going to cities are really stupid and greedy. TENNIS COURTS, SKATE BOARD PARKS, FANCY LIGHTS FOR DOWNTOWNS, AND A HOST OF OTHER CRAZY THINGS. People, lets get our priorities intact, that is why we as Americans suffer so much, GREED!

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