Congressional Black Caucus Calls for Bypassing States on New Jobs Bill

As the $787 billion stimulus law nears its one-year anniversary, Congress’ choice to route the lion’s share of recovery funds through state capitals — including state DOTs where misplaced priorities are all too common — remains a sore spot for mayors and urban advocates.

184_Afghanistan_Muted_Reaction.sff.embedded.prod_affiliate.80.jpgCBC Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) (Photo: AP)

Today the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) joined the chorus urging President Obama — who joined the Black Caucus during his time in the Senate –to reconsider the first stimulus’ state-centric approach.

In a letter to Obama, the CBC suggested several strategies aimed at focusing Democrats’ upcoming jobs bill on cities, suburbs, and towns where the sting of joblessness is being felt most keenly. The Black Caucus members wrote:

With each provision, we would urge you to direct funding through the federal agencies directly to localities: county/city/municipality/college/university or nonprofit organization, rather than through the state, to be quickly disbursed and used by the most economically depressed communities.

Other items on the CBC’s jobs bill to-do list: expanding the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, which directly aids local projects, and the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund, a stimulus-funded effort to help productively retool foreclosed homes in the nation’s most recession-ravaged areas.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

New Report: Minority-Owned Businesses Left Out of Transport Stimulus

|
Women and minorities are getting shortchanged in the chase for transportation stimulus contracts, according to a report released today by the Transportation Equity Network (TEN) and Good Jobs First. (Photo: WBEZ) Using federal procurement data — which, the two advocacy groups acknowledged, represents just a slice of the White House’s economic recovery pie — the […]

One More Sign That the Stimulus Traded Infrastructure for Tax Cuts

|
The independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an economic analysis of the Obama administration’s stimulus law this week, and one chart in particular (see below right, or a larger version here) is getting a lot of attention from bloggers, including Ezra Klein and Ryan Avent.  (Image: CBO) The chart’s message, simply put: the elements of […]

Today’s Headlines

|
Warren Buffett, newly minted full owner of the Burlington Northern railroad, says all cars on U.S. roads will be electric within 20 years (Seeking Alpha) Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), head of the new Congressional "Jobs NOW!" Caucus, says his members would be open to paying for a new transportation bill with unused money from the […]

Is the Stimulus Working For Cities? Not So Much, Mayors Say

|
As the Obama administration today faced new criticism of its methods for tracking jobs created or saved by the $787 billion stimulus law, a bipartisan quartet of mayors was weighing in at the Brookings Institution about the recovery effort’s impact on their local economies. As budget cuts hit Florida’s Tri-Rail line, shown here, the state […]

LaHood Wants More TIGER Aid in the Congressional Jobs Bill

|
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made a splash yesterday by announcing that the U.S. DOT would look at the environmental and community-building benefits of transit projects, not just their adherence to a government cost-effectiveness standard. Washington D.C.’s proposed K Street transitway, pictured above, is one of many projects vying for TIGER money. (Photo: The City Fix) […]