Davis discusses stimulus at library

Published 9:31 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The bottom line on stimulus money: the state is using it; everyone is getting a share; the rules are different.

The gist of a meeting held by Congressman Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, for more than 100 people from all over the Black Belt brought no surprises and some resignation.

“We are getting our pro rata share,” said Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard.

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The American Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus act, saw $1 billion poured into Alabama, extended health insurance for laid-off workers and provided tax cuts for more than 97 percent of Alabama’s residents.

Davis acted as a liasion with representatives from the Alabama Department of Transportation and ADECA present. Questions about the apportionment of stimulus money have been raised several times by local officials — some who raised them again Tuesday during the meeting.

But the answer is the same. The state is doling out what it can to counties and cities within the confines of the federal law.

Don Vaughn, chief engineer with the Alabama Department of Transportation, and Doni Ingram, director of ADECA, fielded as many questions as they could after talking about the money received by Alabama and the restrictions under which it is spent.

Davis also explained the rules for the stimulus money were written by some in Congress, who wanted formulas to pass out the dollars. Those formulas usually benefit larger population areas.

However, both Vaughn and Ingram pointed out where Black Belt counties had received some stimulus money for projects, including some road resurfacing and weatherization projects.