Obama Stimulus Money Helps Local Communities

Mary-Kate Engstrom

In 2009 Congress passed the Recovery Act of 2009, a $782 billion economic stimulus bill, amidst great fanfare. Over a billion stimulus dollars were granted to the Bay Area. According to recovery.gov, $314,000 of those billions were granted to Orinda.

In Orinda, stimulus money was used to repave Charles Hill Road, Honey Hill Road, and Miner Road. The project took place over a period of two and a half months and employed approximately 40 people. Jobs included construction, creation of road signs, trench plating, paving, concrete, curbs, and signing and striping.

“The money had to be used for the purpose granted, that is to say, it was not awarded for use at the discretion of the city, but only for use on this approved project,” said Orinda Mayor Victoria Smith. “In order to obtain the grant, the City of Orinda had to first pay for the design costs of the project, approximately $56,000.”

Although residents believe that many Orinda roads are in need of repair, the guidelines of the grant stated that the appropriated money must rehabilitate roads with heavier traffic.

Other East Bay cities have begun similar projects. For example, Concord’s Monument Blvd. was repaved using stimulus money. Although Monument Blvd. has a high number of pedestrians and traffic, some view the project as pointless claiming that the road was fine prior to the project and was solely repaved for aesthetic reasons.

“The City did not choose this project for Federal Stimulus funding, rather, the City was in a beneficial position when the funding became available,” said Concord Acting Assistant City Engineer Daniel Siqueira.

If another stimulus plan passes, the City of Orinda is ready with plans. “We do have another project shovel-ready, 2.4 miles of Camino Pablo, in the event the federal government frees up another round of stimulus finding,” said Smith.