Monday, March 23, 2009
Cities around the region are gearing up as fast as they can to apply for their share of the billions in federal stimulus money. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more on projects that will happen if Chula Vista’s applications are successful.
There are 34 different pots of money to apply for and cities are scrambling to get their applications in before deadlines, some of which have passed already.
Jim Garcia of Chula Vista’s fire department says they’ll apply for the maximum for fire safety: $15 million dollars, to replace 2 fire stations. One of them was built in 1953, and he says the roof leaks.
Garcia says FEMA is also offering $500 million for wildland interface protection, and Chula Vista could use all of it ! " We have $500 million worth of interface work to do in the City of Chula Vista," he says," In the center of the city, we have the Rice Canyon system with 30 years of growth, so the money would provide access to cut back 100 foot from all the homes, all around the canyon rims."
The city of Chula Vista also plans to apply for more than $15 million to install new traffic signals, handicap ramps, street repairs and sewer upgrades. Engineer Rancisco Rivera says it’s like preparing a whole new budget. " We have to gear up now for another funding cycle," he says, " but this one, there’s no guarantees, so that’s what makes it a little more unnerving."
Chula Vista police also hope to apply for money for more officers. But federal funds for police recruits come with conditions. The stimulus money will pay for 3 years-worth of salary and benefits, t but he city has to guarantee it has enough to pay the fourth.
Alison St John, KPBS news.