Archive for Monday, August 10, 2009

NE Kansas buoyed by stimulus funds

Clinton Lake.

Clinton Lake.

August 10, 2009


Top 10 counties

The Lawrence Journal-World pulled together as many government spending reports as it could find to see where stimulus money was going in Kansas. While the list isn’t comprehensive, it includes dozens of state and federal agencies and more than a thousand different projects throughout the state that total more than $800 million. Here’s a look at what counties benefited the most from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding:

1. Johnson County $137,840,000

2. Sedgwick County $124,153,000

3. Riley County $76,375,000

4. McPherson County $74,772,000

5. Wyandotte County $52,086,000

6. Leavenworth County $33,499,000

7. Shawnee County $28,845,000

8. Douglas County $27,480,000

9. Osage County $14,418,000

10. Cherokee County $12,893,000

Northeast Kansas is receiving almost half of the more than $800 million worth of stimulus money coming to the state from government agencies.

Many state agencies are still in the process of applying for federal funds and defining programs to determine how to spend the money that is funneled through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Some awards are still months away, Gov. Mark Parkinson’s spokeswoman Beth Martino said.

But 16 counties in an area that runs from Kansas City to Junction City along Interstate 70 and north to the Nebraska border have received 46 percent of $827 million in stimulus funding.

It’s a region that accounts for about 45 percent of the state’s population and in June had an average unemployment rate of 6.7, which was below the state’s average.

The Lawrence Journal-World looked at spending reports from more than a dozen U.S. departments and several state agencies to see where stimulus money was going. While not comprehensive, the $827 million worth of projects included funding for defense, transportation, housing and education.

Johnson County, with the state’s largest population, received more money than any other county. Most of the money is going toward road projects, including $83 million to reconstruct part of U.S. Highway 69 in Overland Park.

The county also received millions to spend toward low-income housing, school lunch equipment, two 20-passenger buses and diesel emissions reductions.

Douglas County was among the top 10 counties in Kansas receiving the most stimulus funding.

Fixing the intersection of North Second and Locust streets is perhaps the most visible project being funded under Recovery Act money. But more than a dozen other projects have received funding.

For example, $747,000 is going to low-income housing through the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to shovel some $5 million toward Clinton Lake and its environs.

The city of Lawrence has received money to repave a three-block portion of New York Street with bricks, reconstruct a sidewalk along the western end of Clinton Parkway and replace police radios.

At KU, $2 million is going to improve roofs, electrical services, and heating and cooling systems. The Lawrence campus also received $5.7 million in grant funding to study everything from cancer-fighting drugs to chlamydia.

Part of the reason for the heavy concentration of stimulus spending in northeast Kansas is due to the presence of large institutions, such as military bases, universities and employment centers, said Joe Aistrup, head of the Kansas State University political science department.

“Money is going to follow where the infrastructure is,” he said.

But spending money where the infrastructure already exists has led to some criticism of the Recovery Act, Aistrup said.

“The haves continue to get and the have-nots don’t,” Aistrup said.

Riley County, with one of the state’s lowest unemployment rates at 3.7 percent, is a good example. The county is receiving around $45 million in funding for improvements to Tuttle Creek Reservoir. Another $12 million is coming in to improve K-18 from Manhattan to Ogden. And Kansas State University is receiving $2.3 million from the state for utility and power plant repairs. The school is also receiving several million dollars’ worth of research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy.

In comparison, Chautauqua County in the southeast part of the state, with one of the highest rates of unemployment at 10.1 percent, received just slightly more than $1 million in Recovery Act funding.

“Even though a county is distressed and should be getting some of this money in a way that allows them to spend it or to create some sort of employment opportunities for themselves, it is not coming their way,” Aistrup said.

Regardless of where in the state the money is going, Aistrup said, some could argue the millions Kansas has received has had a positive effect on all taxpayers.

“You can say the state benefited because, A) it didn’t have to cut more of its programs than it otherwise would have, or B) raise taxes to make up for a big chunk of the state budget,” he said.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Army Corps of Engineers would improve Clinton State Park. The corps' funding will go toward improving the reservoir land owned by the federal government.


Gopher 8 years, 9 months ago

Article ain't even close to being accurate. The Corps is spending the 5 mil in their parks (Overlook, Bloomington, Rockhaven, Woodridge), on their roads and replacing their equipment. NOT in the state park.

Jonathan Kealing 8 years, 9 months ago

Gopher-- You're right. The Corps is spending money on the federal reservoir and its environs, not the state park. Correction coming.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

chadku 8 years, 9 months ago

Please fix the gravel road on the way into Rock Creek Boat Ramp

areyouserious 8 years, 9 months ago

Can it fix all the annoying jet skis and tubers that insist on riding in the calm spots of the lake..............usually right next to a wakeboarder or skier.............IDIOTS

KS 8 years, 9 months ago

Let's see now, the taxpayer (that being you and me) involuntarily gave money to the Federal Government (that being you and me) to build Clinton Lake. The Federal Government (that again being you and me) turned over part of the land to the State of Kansas (that also being you and me) to construct a state park with involuntary tax money (that being your money and mine) by the State of Kansas (that again being you and me) for the expressed purpose of building a park (which very few of us in porportion use) only to charge the taxpayer/user (that being you and me again) for the ability to use it. If this is not confusing enough, think about all of the paperwork that is involved in this and we call this a good thing.

jimmyjms 8 years, 9 months ago

KS, let me put that into some perspective. The Federal Government (that being you and me) in the not so distant past sent a pallet of cash totaling $350 million dollars to Iraq, and they can't account for what happened to it, where it went, or what it bought.

This seems like a hell of a bargain in comparison.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 9 months ago

In other news: "Spending through July of 2009 has increased by $530 billion, which is 21 percent over the same period in 2008. The bailout money for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae accounted for almost half of the spending increase. Unemployment benefits have more than doubled, Medicaid spending has grown by a quarter and Medicare spending has increased by 11 percent. Tax revenue for the first three quarters of 2009 has fallen by approximately $350 billion, or 17 percent compared to the same period last year, due mostly to the effects of the recession on payroll, income and corporate taxes. A third of the decline is due to tax breaks in the stimulus, including the middle-class tax cut that President Obama campaigned on during last year's election. The independent budget scorekeeper has projected the deficit to reach $1.8 trillion by the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. The deficit in 2008 reached $455 billion, which was a record at the time." Can you say "unsustainable"?

KawHawk 8 years, 9 months ago

It's not all a rosy picture.

I know of at least one instance where Corps is spending money on a project that WAS going to be done by a group in Kansas (until the stimulus money came along), and now it's being done by an out-of-state group at twice the price.

Great. Kansas gets shorted, and it's more expensive to boot.

KS 8 years, 9 months ago

jimmyjms - $350 Million in Iraq? A mere drop in the bucket compared to the Federal deficit which grew another $181 BILLION in the MONTH of JULY. And now Nancy wants another $500 million (that's half a billion for those of you walking Mass street today) for 8 additional Gulfstream jets to ferry her and her compadres around. Folks used to think the Republicans spent money like drunken sailors (which they did) and now the Democrats don't want to be outdone. When are these folks, Democratss and Rebulicans going to STOP wasting our money? The is not a D or R thing. This is for AMERICA!

puddleglum 8 years, 9 months ago

americans for americans....

it sounds good to me, but it will draw comparisons to that ol' party of nationalist worker's dudes

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