The site of the Railyards project
It’s not every day that the federal government gives away nearly a trillion bucks. But Barack Obama hopes to create millions of new jobs by funding state and local infrastructure improvements – and the Sacramento-area wants a slice of the pie.
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
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
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.