Group shares vision for economic recovery

June 5, 2009 7:02:33 PM PDT
Projects throughout California are vying for $31 billion in federal stimulus money. The Bay Area hopes to go to the head of the line by creating a priority list that was released Friday.

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The Bay Area has no shortage of projects in need of money -- from road repairs to rehabilitation of aging mass transit.

Over 500 projects from nine Bay Area counties were analyzed by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, all of them vying for part of $31 billion in federal stimulus funds allocated to California.

Priority projects were selected on the basis of creating jobs, public benefit and regional cooperation.

"Proposals that were multi-jurisdictional, that involved more than one city or county or a civic group with business, those kinds of things we thought would have scale, leverage and impact," Bay Area Council member Sean Randolph said.

The Santa Clara Valley Water district had three projects put on the priority list, one of them to upgrade water treatment plants.

"A couple of the projects are related to creating new interconnections between the different systems so there's greater reliability, for example, a major earthquake," Santa Clara Valley Water District spokesperson Dave Chesterman said.

High-speed rail also was given a high priority. The project has applied for just under $4 billion in stimulus funds. An estimated 160,000 construction jobs will be created.

"We're ready, we've done our studies, many of the other areas are not ready so we have a good chance of getting a lot more than what we would normally expect to receive," Mineta Transportation Institute spokesperson Rod Diridon said.

The regional stimulus plan also wants priority funding for Marin County's Buck Institute for Age Research. The money would allow the center to do stem cell research.

"I think we've got a good chance of getting some funds to the Bay Area, I think recognizing the Silicon Valley in particular is such an important part of our economy," Chesterman said.

The Bay Area will be in competition with other projects across the state. Overall, government and community leaders say they're pleased that they could reach a consensus on priorities.

Among the key priorities set by the plan:

TRANSPORTATION

  • The BART-Oakland Airport connector
  • Local road rehabilitation
  • Transit system rehabilitation
  • High-speed rail

WATER

  • Water treatment plant improvements, Santa Clara Valley Water District
  • Water storage reservoirs, American Canyon
  • Levee upgrades & rehabilitation, Contra Costa County Water Agency
  • Rainwater harvest project, San Francisco

ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Conversion of Oakland & San Jose street lights to LED technology
  • Energy retrofit projects in various cities for residential & commercial buildings

HOUSING

  • Affordable housing and transit-oriented developments in various cities

HUMAN CAPITAL & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

  • Training programs for low-income adults and immigrants
  • Training programs for health care careers
  • Training for green jobs and energy technology jobs

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

  • Redevelopment of Oakland Army Base and industrial business districts
  • Creation of North Bay business incubator
  • Programs involving microcredit and manufacturing competitiveness

SCIENCE & INNOVATION

  • Infrastructure projects to complete San Francisco's Mission Bay biotech and medical research cluster
  • Supplemental funds to support stem cell research on aging and age-related diseases
  • Support research into low-carbon transportation energy solutions

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