Sacramento Area Eyes Federal Stimulus Dollars

Share |
(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, January 2, 2009

Matt Mahood with the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce says the federal stimulus package is crucial for the region.
Mahood: "Any time we have the opportunity to bring back tax dollars, federal tax dollars back to the Sacramento region, we need to make sure that we get our fair share." 
So the Metro Chamber is working with local cities, counties and regional agencies to come up with a list of projects that are "shovel-ready" - or, as Mahood says:
Mahood: "Those projects are ready to turn dirt and are ready and available for federal stimulus dollars." 
What are those projects?  Well, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments sent over a draft list.  It's 370 items long, and totals more than $2 billion.  Executive director Mike McKeever says the items have a wide scope:
McKeever: "They go everything from very large projects of highway projects and interchanges down to thousands of smaller projects, of building sidewalks, to schools and light rail stops and everything in-between." 
Suheil Totah has high hopes for the money - to the tune of $300 million.  He's with the company developing the Railyards site in downtown Sacramento.  He says the federal stimulus dollars would give his project a huge boost.
Totah: "Right now, there are virtually no private dollars out there with the banking crisis.  There's the state budget crisis which has put a stop right now on state infrastructure dollars, and the city is in a situation with its own budget crisis.  So this federal money really is the only money that's out there." 
Totah says several infrastructure tasks - like roads and a pedestrian tunnel under the railroad tracks - are shovel-ready, and would bring 6,000 jobs to the region.  The Railyards tops the city of Sacramento's list as well, but assistant city manager John Dangberg says it has other ideas, too.
Dangberg: "The Railyards, of course, is one of the top priority projects for the city.  We have a number of transportation projects - for example, Cosumnes River Blvd. extension and the interchange at the Delta Shores project that would be at the top of our list." 
Of course, the Sacramento region won't be the only suitor for the stimulus funds.  Other states - and local governments - have their own lists.  And there are no guarantees that everyone will get what they want.