A stimulating project

As President Barack Obama prepares to push his economic stimulus package in Congress, communities around the country are developing massive wish lists of projects they hope to get funded with the anticipated federal revenue.

We’re happy to see projects listed locally — as reported by The Daily Sentinel’s Gary Harmon on Sunday — aren’t as frivolous as some proposed in other regions. There are no expansions of zoo exhibits or new boathouse buildings, as have been suggested in other locales, for instance. But that’s not to say each of the projects proposed locally warrants the same consideration.

Topping the local list — and the one that makes the most sense — is the extension of 29 Road across the Union Pacific railroad tracks, so that the north-south artery can eventually link up to Interstate 70.

The $30 million project does exactly what a stimulus project ought to do. It puts people to work through private businesses that will contract with local governments to construct the viaduct and road improvements. And it opens an important new traffic corridor that will boost commerce and aid the economy long after the construction is completed.

Although each of the other projects listed has merit in its own right, it’s hard to make as strong a case for them as the 29 Road viaduct. Although each will create short-term jobs, their long-term affects on the economy are far less apparent.

The guidelines for what sort of projects are to be funded in the stimulus package will be developed in Congress over the next few weeks. We certainly hope those guidelines are broad enough to include work like the much-needed viaduct on 29 Road.


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