Feds Stop Stimulus Swap

Officials in Southern California cities that had hoped to trade off their share of federal stimulus funds for transportation projects to other cities have been denied by Congress, which is calling on municipalities to use the money as intended.
March 12, 2009, 1pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"Under the federal stimulus package intended to improve the nation's infrastructure, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority was set to dole out roughly $215 million in sums of at least $500,000 each to the county's 88 cities to get their projects moving.

Many cities on the list, however, did not have qualifying projects because they are too small or cannot move as quickly as the stimulus law stipulated. So the transit agency encouraged the cities to do with the stimulus money what they often do with other money - swap it with other cities at a discounted rate.

In a letter to city officials, the transit agency provided a list of cities that would not be able to use their allocation. Last week, when the financing streams were announced, cities, many of them facing deficits and hard choices, moved to exchange the transportation money for cash, at about 62 cents on the dollar."

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Published on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 in The New York Times
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