Local officials eyeing federal cash for construction projects

QUEENSBURY - With the U.S. presidential inauguration at hand, local lawmakers are now looking toward how the nation's new leader and his economic recovery plan might benefit local citizens.

Warren County leaders are now lining up to get their piece of the economic pie after President-elect Barack Obama has proposed bankrolling infrastructure construction projects with $45 billion or more of federal cash in an attempt to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

Even in traditionally conservative Warren County, officials aren't shunning the idea of this massive deficit spending - they're hopeful that the proposed influx of money will accomplish necessary bridge and road improvements and stimulate a floundering local economy.

Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said Tuesday he has heard from federal officials who want to fund projects that had been for years bypassed for federal assistance.

"I've been inundated with calls from state and federal agencies that want to help us fund projects," he said.

As recently as last fall, Warrensburg's three proposed sewer system extension projects were denied federal and state funding, but now they are being welcomed by government officials, Geraghty said.

"It looks like we might be in the right place at the right time with the new president," he said.

Representatives of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and other agencies have expressed interest in funding the sewer projects which would extend sewer lines and expand and update the sewer treatment plant, Geraghty said.

"We have projects waiting that are engineered-out and ready to go," he said. "We have all of our applications already in; it's all about being at the top of the list."

Local officials in the Adirondack region had better get details of appropriate proposed projects lined up, or local citizens will lose their fair share of the federal money, warned New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Steve Acquario. He talked about Obama's stimulus proposal Thursday when he addressed the Intercounty Legislative Committee of the Adirondacks.

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