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Metro Backtracks on Frivolous Stimulus Money Giveaway

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With the $215 million in federal stimulus funds Metro received (it could go up to $315) for transportation projects, they are giving cities a minimum of $500,000. But the Pasadena Star News found that smaller cities were taking that money and trading it for as low as 62-cents to the dollar for money they could use on anything they wanted (Example, one city would trade their $500,000 earmarked for shovel ready transit projects with another city for $315,000 in cash that they could use for anything they wanted). "That was a misunderstanding on somebody's part," Metro board member and Mayor Villaraigosa appointee Richard Katz told the paper in a follow up story. "It is our intention that all of the stimulus money be for transportation purposes and transportation only."

But another board member, John Fasana, said that "the cities felt the latitude to do this, and Metro frankly was allowing it within the last week. But based on the concerns that have been expressed, they decided it might be safer to go back to a strict interpretation. They didn't want some investigation to put any of the money at risk."