Today President Obama signs the $787 billion dollar economic stimulus package. The plan calls for a wide range of interventions aimed at reviving our nation's struggling economy.
The plan calls for major infrastucture investments, aid to state governments, and tax breaks for working Americans and corporations. At $787 billion, the amount works out to about $2,600 for US citizen. That doesn't sound like much. So government leaders have been working to decide how best to target the resource.
A major priority for the stimulus plan is jobs. Whether job creation or job preservation. President Obama states the plan will generate approximately 3.5 million jobs. Second on the priority list is housing. The third leg is infrastructure.
The nation's housing market is in trouble, with millions of foreclosures and declining property values. St. Louis is one of the nation's major centers for automobile manufacturing. The future of the US auto industry looms large in determing the direction of our region's economy. For years' we've had a national call to rebuild our nation's aging infrastructure, and contained in the stimulus plan is billions for new light rails, road construction, and education projects. So what about St. Louis?
At about 3,000,000 (give or take), the St. Louis region has about 1% of the US population. If we receive a prorata share of the stimulus plan, our region would realize $7.87 billion in stimulus help.
With the City of St. Louis having about 1/10 of the region's population, the city would see about $787 million in help (thanks to a reader for correcting this amount). However, knowing that things won't be doled out on a prorata basis, there's likely going to be a substantially larger amount of funding coming to St. Louis for local stimulus efforts.
The National League of Cities has made the case for projects to managed at the local, not state level. They are working to get the help to the project locations more quickly. St. Louis submitted a proposal for local priorities as part of the League of Cities request. The package included light rail and multiple public infrastructure investments.
A website, "Stimulus Watch", details proposed economic stimulus spending. St. Louis has a request in the amount of $2.45 billion pending. The breakdown is available here. The site is interactive and allows visitors to vote on individual projects.
Knowing that stabilizing housing markets, building new infrastructure, and providing for job creation and preservation are the nation's top goals of the stimulus plan, what projects would you like to see prioritized in St. Louis?