Federal stimulus dollars at work in Milwaukee County
May 1, 2010
By Marina Dimitrijevic, District 4 County Supervisor
In 2009 our federal government made a great effort to stimulate our economy by adopting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka “the stimulus bill” or ARRA. The stimulus has been critical for local governments and has truly helped Milwaukee County residents in many ways.
Thank you to the Obama administration and our congressional delegation for providing us this much-needed resource. In addition, it was the County Board of Supervisors who had to legislate acceptance of these funds. Foolishly, our county executive made a political decision against accepting millions of dollars to improve our infrastructure and we almost missed out on a great opportunity to stimulate our local economy.
We have put these funds to great use in Milwaukee County. Some great examples include $25 million to purchase 45 new buses and fund a major fare box upgrade for our Milwaukee County Transit System, $2.5 million for airport runway improvements, $2.8 million for child support enforcement, $2.7 million in public safety, $700,000 for homelessness prevention, $465,000 for veterans housing on 35th and Wisconsin, and $8 million to improve many county-trunk highways and bridges.
Lastly, as the author of Milwaukee County’s Greenprint legislation, I was especially pleased to see the stimulus funds help us further achieve our energy goals. For example we received $200,000 to purchase alternative fuel vehicles, which will enhance our outdated fleet. Two new, state-of-the-art solar hot water systems will be installed in Wilson and Washington Park Senior Centers as part of a $732,000 allocation. Milwaukee County bonded about $30 million for our capital improvements and with the stimulus will save $3 million over the life of these bonds. As you can see, Milwaukee County has been stimulated. I hope that the private market will begin to recover and employment will be re-invigorated as well.
Marina Dimitrijevic is supervisor of Milwaukee County’s Fourth District, which includes Bay View and Milwaukee’s near south side. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (414) 278-4232.
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