When our economy went into the toilet, President Obama made haste and signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, making $787 billion available to boost the economy of our embattled nation.
Philadelphia got $1 billion to invest with – a handsome sum that could do some real good for a city that had to recently close all its libraries.
The only problem is that Philly is a city of unions with SEPTA, the city’s public transit service, constantly needing capital infusions while it runs a large deficit. So thus, after SEPTA, PennDOT, and the Philadelphia School District took their cut, only $216 million was left, according to Philadelphia Weekly.
Even with $216 million left, you could still do a lot, right? Perhaps help beef up the police force to tackle crime, help out arts and music programs; something like that. Instead the city has only spent $8 million as the money remains tied up in the trap of bureaucracy:
PW: Philadelphia, though, has utilized only about $8 million of that money so far. And as of January, only 114 jobs have been created or retained. In a city with an unemployment rate of 9.6 per cent—up from 7.8 per cent last year (and you can easily tack on several more percentage points for the underemployed and those that have given up on finding work) that just doesn’t seem like enough for people facing unemployment, huge debt and plenty of despair. In two cases this March, residents drowning in debt committed suicide right before they were to be evicted from their homes. Recovery seems very far off, indeed.
Says Gary Steuer, Chief Cultural Officer to the mayor: Frankly, the money has a lot of strings attached.” So if you want the money, prepared to take a large amount of time to go after it.
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