Show us the money!

February 12, 2009 3:49:15 PM PST
The final votes are still pending, but there is a deal for an almost $790 billion federal stimulus bill to get the U.S. economy moving again. Here in North Carolina, state officials say they are ready to put the money to work.North Carolina's roads chief says the state is poised to receive $900 million in extra road money. The Department of Transportation already has a short list roads and bridges which will get the first stimulus funding.

"We've had a lot of layoffs in the construction industry, so those people will be able to go back to work. And then we hope to add 30-40 thousand additional jobs over the next year," offered Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti.

None of the first projects are in the Triangle, but the DOT has compiled a master list of 6-and-a-half billion dollars in transportation needs, including 11 projects in Wake County.

Stimulus money will not likely help mega-projects, like finishing the I-540 loop, but smaller work like resurfacing areas of I-40 or Glenwood Avenue could get the green light.

"We will make sure we have a good mix of projects and that they do indeed create jobs. And we will be tracking these projects to make sure those jobs are sustainable over the long term," said Conti.

And the real estate industry wanted a $15,000 dollar tax credit for all home buyers.

"It would have been awesome. It would have been phenomenal," said Mike Leary with York Simpson Underwood. Instead, they get an $8,000 thousand dollar credit only for first-time home buyers.

"I'm not the first to say it, fix housing first. That's really got to happen. We need to get the sales going so the prices will stabilize and bottom out," said Leary.

And if highways got lots of help, school construction got snubbed. The state hoped for almost $400 million to build and re-model classrooms. The final bill may have nothing for K-12 campuses.


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