The $787 billion federal stimulus package passed in 2009 and meant to bolster the faltering economy has finally come to the streets of Merced.
The orange construction signs lining 16th Street are the first step in a months-long project that will begin today to resurface much of the thoroughfare as it runs through town.
The $1.2 million project is just one among a handful of stimulus projects in Merced funded through the federal stimulus package, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"If we did not receive these funds, we wouldn't be doing this project," said Daniel Ainslie, with the city's redevelopment agency.
The city was awarded the funds -- expressly for road work -- in April 2009, but didn't start the project until now because the plans had to be OK'd by the state and federal government before work could begin, said Ainslie.
Teichert Construction, the company that resurfaced Olive Avenue, will also do the work on 16th Street. An estimated 20 to 30 people will work on it, said Ainsle.
The resurfacing will be complete mid-summer and extend from 16th and G streets to V Street and up G Street to 22nd Street. None of the city's streets will be closed during construction, but will be limited to two lanes at times. To follow the work on 16th Street, check out the city's new "The Streets of Merced Facebook" page.
A second stimulus funded road project worth $1.2 million will begin later this year.
The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, passed in February 2009, was a package of almost $800 billion in loans, grants, tax cuts and incentives meant to stimulate the economy after its nosedive in late 2008.
So far, according to the federal government's Web site tracking stimulus funds, the state of California has been awarded more than $20 million in stimulus funds, which includes roughly $17 billion in grants. California has also received $2.1 billion in contracts and $5.5 million in loans. According to the federal government, the stimulus has created more than 71,000 jobs in California.
Merced, according to the city manager, John Bramble, has received about $17.7 million in stimulus funds:
$400,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency for remediation work and investigation.
$370,000 for sidewalk projects in South Merced.
$749,200 for energy efficeincy and improvements to city buildings.
$515,200 for homeless prevention.
$1,501,580 to hire new police officers.
$283,000 mainly for new police equipment.
$15,604,453 loan reductions and modifications for the wastewater treatment plant upgrade.
The city also got a $2.1 million neighborhood stabilization program to buy houses in foreclosure from the George W. Bush stimulus.
Tip O'Neill was right: all politics is local.
Reporter Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at (209-385-2484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.