Federal stimulus program yields $900 million plus for city agencies

City officials just finished a broad review of what impact the federal stimulus package has had so far on Philadelphia.

Two main points:

First, about $931 million is expected to be allocated to a combination of government agencies, including the city, SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the Philadelphia Housing Authority and PennDOT. The city itself is anticipated to receive $353 million of that sum. This doesn't include other funds that the federal government has not yet made available that the region may beneift from later on.

Second, the actual amount of money currently on hand for the city to spend is $13.3 million. And almost all of it has been obligated, including $6 million to maintain 52 court-related positions, and $7 million to to provide job training for adults and teens. As soon as the cash comes in, the city is trying to get it out.

In addition, there are a horde of requests for proposals either being prepared, already issued or under view by various city departments. This includes contracts for workforce development training, transit projects such as rehabilitating train stations along the Broad Street line, and a myriad of water-related projects to replace century-old infrastructure.

The discussion, during a PhillyStat meeting, included an overview of what fedearl funds are available, and how they can and cannot be used. "It's a lot of money, but none of it can be used to close the operating deficit we may have in the city," said Managing Director Camille Barnett in an otherwise gentle reminder.

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