Friday, October 15, 2010

Remember "shovel-ready"?

That was a popular criterion used to allocate "stimulus" money last year - is the project shovel-ready? Will it put a few unionized construction guys to work now? Gee, it turns out that "shovel-ready" means that projects requiring planning, design and bidding, like road construction and repair, often didn't have a chance to get funded under the deadlines in the "stimulus" bill.
Hopefully it worked better elsewhere, but in this area (Whittier), here is where the stimulus went: beautification projects. Instead of fixing the cracked and broken streets, we got new flower beds down the median. When asked, city officials said the time frame on the stimulus money was such that they weren’t able to do the process (identify needs, make plans, get bids) for getting the streets fixed and meet the stimulus package deadlines, so they did what they could. Beautification projects take much less time to plan and implement. So, instead of repairing infrastructure, we got something else that needs to be maintained and uses more water in this drought stricken area, but the city can say they got their share of the stimulus money.

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