Modesto hasn't even received all the money it won last year from the $787 billion economic stimulus package, but the city is lining up projects that could benefit from a possible second round of federal cash.
Congress and the White House are working on legislation meant to create jobs. The White House has set aside $267 billion in its proposed budget for the effort, according to the Washington Post.
When, how and where that money would be spent are all unknowns. But city officials say they're using what they learned during the last round of stimulus funding to position Modesto for more opportunities.
Necessary studies complete
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The 2009 stimulus package put a premium on speed. Cities could ask for funding only for so-called shovel-ready projects -- those ready to start construction -- because the Obama administration wanted the package to have an immediate impact.
That meant Modesto couldn't use stimulus funding for the $59 million project to rebuild the Pelandale Avenue interchange on Highway 99, one of the city's top priorities, because it still needed environmental studies and design work.
Now those studies are complete, and the city is fast-tracking efforts to complete the project's design work in hope of capturing cash from Washington, said city engineer Bill Sandhu.
"If something becomes available, we want to take advantage," Sandhu said.
The design work should cost about $3 million.
Sandhu said investing in the Pelandale interchange now makes sense, even if there isn't another stimulus package.
"The project is well-needed," Sandhu said. "It also will help the local economy. You need to get the folks in and out for shopping. If people are stuck on the highway, they're not going to get here."
Other projects that could benefit from a second stimulus package include the Virginia Corridor bike trail and utility projects, said Patrick Brooke, an information technology analyst with the city who tracks Modesto's stimulus money.
The 2009 federal stimulus package helped Modesto pay for police salaries, dig wells and keep the city's bus system running, among other projects.
Residents will see the impact firsthand this summer, when the city is expected to spend $3.2 million in stimulus dollars to resurface 25 miles of city streets.