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Area Readies for Stimulus Money

By Shelley Kofler, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-820527.mp3

Dallas, TX – A State transportation spokesman says the terms are fuzzy and the amount uncertain, but Texas expects to receive about 2.9 billion dollars in stimulus money for roads and transit. KERA's Shelley Kofler reports North Texas wants to be ready to get its fair share and more.

North Texas expects to get part of the state's pot plus another $130 million. The federal government wants the money pumped into the economy quickly so it will create jobs. That's why local authorities may have just 6 months to begin spending the money on specific projects. Michael Morris of the North Texas Council of Governments says it's crucial this region chose its stimulus projects within two weeks, and be ready to take advantage if others don't.

Morris: If someone stubs their toe somewhere else in the state we're ready. If another state stubs their toe we're ready. So we are preparing for projects that are ready to go to construction.

North Texas' top priorities for stimulus money include Tarrant County's Southwest Parkway; the DFW connector; the widening of LBJ Freeway and new lanes on I-35 in Ellis County. The $130 million however would only be a drop in the bucket. It would only build the equivalent of a 26- mile, single lane highway.

Send E-mail to Shelley Kofler