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What?! Small Cities are Selling Their Federal Stimulus Dollars

Photo by tobo via Flickr
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Some cities say they don't have shovel ready transit projects and would rather "replenish their general funds," Alfred Lee at the Pasadena Star News has found. But in order to get the money, they have to sell $500,000 allocated to them by Metro to another city. Here's what's happening:

  • Metro has been given $215 million for (and could be $315 pending a state legislature approval) to dole out to cities for transit projects. That equals out to $500,000 for each city and to unincorporated areas.
  • But they are giving the cities a "cash giveaway out the back door" if cities don't have projects that need a half million dollars. If they want, they can trade that earmarked money for cash, giving them the freedom to do whatever they want.

This could be a problem, especially for watchdog Republicans. The stimulus wasn't meant to fix city budget problems, the money was for shovel ready project to help infrastructure and create jobs. Here are a few examples from the story: