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Harrison County hopes to benefit from stimulus

President Barack Obama yesterday (Tuesday) in Denver signed into law the $787 billion economic recovery bill after it passed through Congress late Friday evening. Obama used Indiana as a platform to promote the package and encouraged lawmakers to vote for the bill, and the Hoosier state hopes to see a good portion of the funds.
Indiana is expected to garner $6 billion in direct federal funding/spending from the package. The combination of spending and tax cuts may total nearly $11.2 billion for Indiana, according to analysis by the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank.
Infrastructure projects in Indiana are slated to receive more than $836 million, most of which will be used for roads and bridges. Also, about $27 million has been set aside for highway work in the Louisville metro area, which includes Southern Indiana.
Harrison County engineer Kevin Russel said he hopes the economic recovery plan, or the stimulus bill, will bring some much-needed funds to the county’s road projects. Russel met with Indiana Department of Transportation representatives earlier this month to determine further details on the plan. Russel said projects must be ‘shovel ready’ and federally approved to qualify for stimulus funds.
In Harrison County, three projects qualify: the Lanes-ville Connector Road, the intersection of Corydon-Ramsey and Sival roads and the Rothrock Mill project.
‘If there’s an opportunity to bring money to Harrison County, we’re doing all we can to bring it,’ Russel said.
Normal federally funded projects are split, with federal funds covering 80 percent of costs. But, Russel said, the stimulus funds will be 100 percent paid with no state or local match.
Nineteen percent of the money allotted for roads and bridges in the state has to be spent in urbanized areas, and 3 percent on bike paths and beautification. The rest is available for any federally approved project, such as the three Russel mentioned in Harrison County.
The Harrison County Board of Commissioners last month also discussed the possibility of receiving stimulus funds for the government complex remodeling project on the old hospital campus in Corydon. Representatives of RQAW Architects and Engineers said the plan did not, at the time, include any potential money from the stimulus package.
Gov. Mitch Daniels said he does not expect much money to make its way to local governments.
The House of Representatives voted 246-183 in favor of the bill, with seven Democrats joining the unanimously-opposed Republicans. The Senate passed the measure with a 60-38 vote, with unanimous Democrat support and three Republicans voting ‘aye’ to give the bill the needed 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.

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