Covington seeks piece of bailout pie
City submits request for $9 million in government funds

COVINGTON - City officials are hoping Covington will benefit from President-elect Barack Obama's proposed $825 billion economic stimulus package.

In hopes of getting a small slice of the pie, the city has submitted a list of nearly $9 million in projects to Congressman Jim Marshall, D-Georgia, who is putting together a list of the needs of municipalities in his district.

"There's going to be a lot of hands reaching out for this money," said Public Works Director Billy Bouchillon. "Even though it's billions of dollars, it's a long shot that we'll get anything. We're not getting our hopes up. But you won't get anything if you don't ask."

In an effort to get a leg up on the competition, the city has offered to pay 50 percent of the cost of projects for which funding is being sought.

The following projects have been submitted:

· Improvements to the Pace Street Corridor at a cost of $5.4 million;

· Extension of a 24-inch water main along U.S. Highway 278 at a cost of $2.2 million;

· Turner Lake Road roundabout at a cost of $850,000 - federal funds totaling $175,000 have already been designated for this project;

· Subdivision paving projects - Currently there are eight residential subdivisions in the city left unfinished, leaving the city with the responsibility of laying the final layer of asphalt, at a cost of $400,000 and;

· a multi-use sidewalk/trail that would complete the segment of the trail system from Turner Lake Park to the Newton County library, at a cost of $62,000.

The projects, with the exception of the roundabout, are ready to proceed but have been delayed due to the economy, said Bouchillon.

On Thursday, House Democrats called for $825 billion in federal spending and tax cuts to revive the economy, with emphasis on energy, education, health care and jobs-producing highway construction.

The legislation calls for roughly $550 billion in spending and aid to states and $275 billion in tax cuts.

The bill includes about $90 billion for roads, bridges, mass transit and rail projects.

More than $100 billion is ticketed for education, including money for school districts to shield them from the effects of state cutbacks in services.

House committees are working on a schedule that calls for votes next week on parts of the bill, which would then be advanced to the floor for a vote during the last week of January.

A companion measure is expected to move along roughly the same timeline in the Senate, with congressional leaders saying they should reach agreement on a final version by mid-February.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.