Salazar: Stimulus bill will create area jobs

John Salazar answers questions at the Grand Junction City Hall about the stimulus package Friday

The more than $800 billion stimulus package the U.S. House recently approved and the Senate is expected to take up next week will create jobs in western Colorado, Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., promised local leaders Friday.

Salazar said the measure will deliver millions of dollars in road and bridge projects alongside thousands of dollars in tax breaks for local residents.

“The best way to put America back to work is invest in America’s infrastructure,” Salazar said.

For example, he said, School District 51 is expected to receive more than $4.6 million under the stimulus package.

Salazar spoke to nearly 50 local residents gathered in Grand Junction City Hall for an evening forum.

Pressed by Mesa County Trustee Paul Brown about whether the stimulus package was being directed at the right initiatives and not, for example, to confront foreclosures, Salazar said it is.

“It’s simple economics 101,” Salazar said.

He cited congressional efforts late last year to inject $350 billion into the ailing financial markets. That money ended up in banks’ coffers and not in helping homeowners stay in their homes, he said.

Instead, the stimulus package will create jobs and put money back into taxpayers’ pockets, he said.

Pressed by Mesa County Administrator Jon Peacock, Salazar said local governments will have just as much access to the stimulus funds as state governments.

“Mesa County is going to be a wonderful recipient of many of the dollars,” Salazar said.

His Grand Junction stop came as he toured Western Slope communities to discuss the stimulus package.

Salazar will continue his tour at 8 a.m. today at the Montrose Holiday Inn Express, 1391 South Townsend.

He also plans stops in Cortez and Durango.


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