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Feeling stimulated yet? Stimulus money starting to roll into region

April 5, 2009 - 5:57 pm

The money from President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has started to roll into the region. In a memo from February, San Diego’s Intergovernmental Relations Director, Job Nelson, outlined what money San Diego can expect to get from the stimulus bill. He outlined both what the city was nigh certain to receive, because it’s allocated by formula, and some of the places where the city could compete for funds.

Here’s the tally of formula money from the memo:

$4 million: Community Development Block Grants. CDBG-funded projects are ones that seek to eliminate blight and reduce poverty. This money must be awarded with 120 days from when it becomes available.

$6 million: Emergency Shelter Grants. Can be used for foreclosure prevention, to convert buildings into emergency shelters and for social services. This figure represents a huge increase from the $600,000 San Diego got from the feds last year.

$4 million: Justice Assistance Grants. Can be used for a host of crime prevention activities including personnel, new facilities (like crime labs), and prosecution of criminals. This is a big boost from the $230,000 the city got in 2008. The memo also says the city will share $5 million with the county.

$10 million: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants. This money would allow San Diego to provide financial incentives for projects that incorporate energy efficiency, retrofit its own buildings, improve building codes, among other things.

A great deal of the money in the stimulus bill will be distributed through competitive grants, and the memo outlines some of these, including money for the border, for other energy projects, and for housing.

Meanwhile, other government entities in the region have begun to allocate stimulus funds. The San Diego Association of Governments has approved spending on the second phase of the 905 freeway. SANDAG CEO Gary Gallegos told CityBeat they will be putting this project out to bid within the next three weeks, making it the first infrastructure project using stimulus dollars in the region, possibly in the state of California.Gallegos said SANDAG’s expenditure of stimulus money is expected to create 3,000 jobs across the region.

Meanwhile, the Navy and the Marines have secured $832 million for the San Diego region, a hefty percentage of the $7.1 billion the bill allocates to the Department of Defense. The main expenditure will be a $563 million naval hospital in Camp Pendleton.

“We know how to spend money,” said Col. Art Corbett, Deputy Command of Marine Corps West. “It’s not always easy to spend money, but we know how to do it.”

Corbett also noted that the Marines will be spending $3 billion in the area as part of a huge recruitment and training drive.

“That’s thanks to overseas employment opportunities that have grown larger than our force,” he said.

Corbett was serving in Iraq until last month.

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