North Central Florida Leaders Hope to See Federal Stimulus Money
Gainesville has a twenty page document with a wish list of immediate, short-term and long-term projects totaling $488,000,000. Whereas Levy County has this one page survey with 6 projects totaling about $25,000,000.
Nonetheless, the federal economic stimulus package has given hope and visions of dollars signs to officials across North Central Florida.
Russ Blackburn, Gainesville City Manager said the Sixth Street Trail Project, along with resurfacing Northwest Eighth Avenue are two top priority projects that fit the criteria of the bill.
"It's a bonus for us in that some of these projects were either not funded or if we get funding through the stimulus it frees up money that we had allocated so we can provide another project to our citizens," Blackburn said.
Ocala and Marion County leaders discussed their possibilities for stimulus money in a joint meeting Thursday. They prioritized $9,000,000 of resurfacing projects and $30,000,000 of other road projects.
"The top two are Northeast 36th Avenue and Northeast 25th Avenue. They are located in the northeast quadrant of Ocala and are in dire need of resurfacing." said Ocala Marion County Transportation Planning Organization Director Greg Slay.
Levy County is asking for help with FDT mandated improvements to the Cedar Key Airstrip. They've also listed three bridges that need improvements and resurfacing of County Road 40 between Marion County and Yankeetown.
"The employment in Levy County is in big need right now so all of the projects would generate employment opportunities as well for contractors and materials and things like that," said Levy County Coordinator Freddie Moody.
Job creation is exactly what Congress is hoping for, but if the stimulus doesn't work, Moody worries what might happen.
"It fixes a lot of one-time things and economically we hope things are in place by the time the money runs out so we don't go right back to square one where we are today," Moody said.
Alachua County leaders have their own $435,000,000 project wish list. County Manager Randall Reid said he's pretty confident stimulus money will fund the 62nd Street connector between Butler Plaza and the Oaks Mall but there's no telling if or when the money will actually arrive.
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