Philadelphia's share of stimulus package

February 17, 2009 4:16:13 PM PST
President Barack Obama's stimulus package includes tens of billions of dollars for states and municipalities, and while it's still unclear how that'll be dispensed, Philadelphia will get its share.

Online the city of Philadelphia has a kind of wish list, 122 possible stimulus projects that almost all carry multi-million dollar price tags.

495 jobs would be associated or created with rebuilding a main runway at Philadelphia International Airport, the cost of that would be $15-million.

Or how about the 94 jobs supposedly created by putting high efficiency LED lamps into the city's 3,000 traffic signals. The price tag for that would be $6-million but the city claims it would save $1-million a year in energy.

There are many possibilities including $1-million for green roofs on city facilities and a $20-million infrastructure at the zoo. But no one can say which projects are most likely to actually get stimulus funding.

"Not yet but in the next couple of weeks I can offer that we will have some much more confident estimates about around that," said Mark Alan Hughes, the city Sustainability Director.

Hughes is decoding the 1100 page bill for the city. It's anticipated much of the money will go to bricks and mortar projects like upgrading the water system or mass transit equipment.

But some of the money is earmarked for police officers. The stimulus includes a change in federal rules. Budget strapped cities will not have to put up money for certain new police hires, at least, it's thought, for the next three years.

"Now federal government will support 100-percent of hiring of new police officers for a period of time," Hughes said.

Mayor Michael Nutter had lobbied for the police change.

"I can't tell you how many officers we will pursue under that program. But we certainly will after many of those dollars it certainly will help us at this budget time."

Given Philadelphia's budget woes there has been talk of possible police layoffs but the hope is the stimulus package can at least provide some help for the city's thin blue line.

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