By Christopher Wink
Local governments across the country have anxiously awaited the influx of federal dollars as part of the Obama administration’s nearly $1 trillion stimulus plan. In the end, Pennsylvania received some $16 billion, a health portion of which went Philadelphia’s way.
The city’s cut included more than 200 individual projects that will get funding within the next 18 months. Many were citywide and included portions to the city’s housing authority, education, food stamps and between $30 million and $50 million in community development block grants, according to a report by Gov. Ed Rendell, who was actively involved in lobbying for funds.
Of all the neighborhood projects for Philadelphia, though, it seems just one is in Northeast. But, then, it’s not really in the Northeast at all.
The Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant was gifted $26.7 million for improvements to its infrastructure and deferred maintenance. But the Northeast plant is at3899 Richmond Street in Bridesburg, a neighborhood not often associated with the NEast. What’s more, the 3800-bloc of Richmond Street is below the Frankford Creek and the Betsy Ross Bridge, the only other possible dividing lines.
So, indeed, the only Northeast-specific monies from the historic stimulus plan aren’t Northeast at all.
The Northeast plant quietly controls water for a large portion of the city. Back in April it got bids for a systems upgrade, and now it’s getting a whole lot more. Other disappointing funding includes SEPTA, which did see funding through the stimulus, but not as much as they were hoping – not that any of their proposals are particularly interesting.