Stimulus Package Growing

President-elect Barack Obama and his advisors are sending strong signals that a proposed stimulus bill could be in the $700 billion dollar range. From the Washington Post:

Facing an increasingly ominous economic outlook, President-elect Barack Obama and other Democrats are rapidly ratcheting up plans for a massive fiscal stimulus program that could total as much as $700 billion over the next two years.

Transition officials are also talking about delaying the repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

Transition officials would not confirm that they are considering spending of that magnitude, but they made clear that economic conditions are dire, and suggested that Obama might be forced to delay his pledge to repeal President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy.

The stimulus will likely contain money for additional state aid to states and cities, new public works projects, and energy projects.

The plan would include new funding for public-works projects to repair the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, as well as a fresh infusion of cash to promote green technology and alternative-energy sources. It also would include targeted tax cuts for working families, students, the elderly and job-creating businesses that Obama touted on the campaign trail.

Yesterday’s Eagle Tribune ran a story talking about a new “WPA” and what that might mean for the Merrimack Valley. John Kerry was quoted:

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is also pushing a number of bills in the spirit of the WPA. Last week, he introduced legislation to create jobs by turning “America’s outdated and underfunded passenger rail system into a world class system.

“Today we are as far from the New Deal as the New Deal was from the Civil War,” Kerry said in a recent speech at North Shore Community College. “But even though times are different, we can still learn lessons from those days. And the clearest one is that in tough economic times, the government needs to step up and do what it takes to keep the lights on.

“Now, as then, crisis brings with it an opportunity to invest in rebuilding America,” Kerry said. “And if we’re living in the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression, why not respond with the greatest national rebuilding since the New Deal?”

And Congresswoman Tsongas has indicated that “shovel ready” projects will be first in line. Mayor Jim Fiorentini of Haverhill will be ready with projects.

Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini has already begun to prepare for the eventuality of a stimulus bill.

Fiorentini said he received a phone call from an official in Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration the day after Obama won the presidency, telling him to start working on a list of construction projects that are “ready to go.”

The funding criteria is likely to be “design-ready projects that put people on the street working immediately,” the mayor said.

The Mayor is correct. We have received the same word in Methuen, and the Trib story had some talk of preparation here in Methuen.

Methuen Mayor William Manzi said there are some projects that Methuen could potentially use the money for.

One of them would be widening the Howe Street bridge near The Loop. That has been talked about, but it would be an enormous expense. Manzi said he likes the idea of using federal money for public works projects.

“I think it’s a good idea on a couple of different levels,” he said, adding it would put people to work and address infrastructure needs at the same time.

We have projects ready to go, like the Appleyard project in downtown, the Stadium Clubhouse project, and the potential for a Methuen stop on a Manchester to Boston rail run. There is much planning to be done, and we would like additional information before we spend design money on projects that might not come to fruition. But it appears more likely than ever that the biggest stimulus bill of our lifetime is right around the corner.

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3 Responses to Stimulus Package Growing

  1. Gerard Donahue says:

    I think the idea is great to jump start the economy. My concern is where is the money going to be paid for all these stimulus items coming out in addition to the Federal Deficit itself.

    Mayor Manzi, the idea of fixing the Howe Street Bridge is excellent. Also, their is a barren lot on Osgood Street down from Shadis. Any ideas of what could go in there?



  2. Jules Gordon says:

    Say it ain’t so your honor,

    Methuen is getting into the handout line for its share of the 2nd millennium WPA. Are we sending Methuenites into the White Mountains to build trails and camps?

    A couple of observations;
    1. The “One” is delaying repeal of the hated President Bush’s tax cut. So,I ask, what was so bad about them in the first place???

    2. John Kerry is going to build a World Class Passenger Rail System. HA! IF we can’t build a short tunnel without killing people, how can we build a first class rail system in AutoNation? Especially with gas at less than $2.00 per gallon.

    3. I read your last paragraph and I sense you are drooling in anticipation of all that free cash.

    How soon will we be Europeanized?



  3. Jules Gordon says:

    PS Your Honor,

    We tried to buil a first class rail line, Boston to NY. Spent billions. Can only reach design speed in a short section of Rhodes Island.



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