Perdue plans to put stimulus to work

February 16, 2009 3:50:53 PM PST
North Carolina is slated to get 6.1 billion dollars when President Obama signs a massive economic recovery plan into law Tuesday. Governor Beverly Perdue says she'll use the money to put people to work right away. She told reporters Monday that there are quite a few "shovel-ready" projects she has in mind.

"It's great money. It's going to quickly put some people in our state to work," she said.

In a state where unemployment is at a 25-year high - and the budget is expected to fall short by $2 billion - Perdue sees opportunity to put the money to good use.

"We understand municipalities really need help with water resource projects and roads, really, mass transit, bike paths, the whole thing are wonderful projects that build out a 21st century infrastructure system," she said.

Most importantly, they're projects that, she believes, will put thousands of people back to work. Perdue says she, along with city and town leaders from across the state, have laid out a list of projects that are ready break ground on immediately.

She wants North Carolina to be the poster-child of America for how to most effectively use the money. She said by doing so, maybe Washington will send even more federal funds this way.

"It is so important in my mind that - as the money becomes available - that we immediately infuse our projects with resources to begin them so that we might have a shot at a second bite at the apple," she said.

Still, there are some aspects of the plan Perdue believes could have been better.

"I was hopeful to have more money in Medicaid. I'm looking at a $155 million shortfall there. I'm obviously concerned about job training and putting people back to work," she offered.

But, she says - in this dismal economy - anything is better than nothing.


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