Federal $$ Could Flow Our Way

A planned economic stimulus package could bring direct benefits to San Diego County.

A planned economic stimulus package could bring direct benefits to San Diego County.  One member of President-Elect Barack Obama's transition team said the next stimulus package could be $300 to $600 billion.  Obama hinted Monday at how the money would be spent.  "Creating and saving 2.5 million jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure, roads and bridges modernizing our schools" he said. 

Economist Kelly Cunningham of the San Diego Institute for Policy Research said the newly approved Otay Mesa East Port of Entry will likely be the first local project to receive money from the stimulus package.  "The plans are in place.  It's just a matter of getting it all approved and signed off and get the money going to start building it," he said.  President Bush has already signed the "Presidential Permit" for the $800 million federal project.  A toll road must also be built to link the port of entry to the 905 freeway.

It's not only expected to create jobs in it's construction.  Cunningham said the local economy will benefit from the increased efficiency.  "With $20 million of trucks coming across the border,   you lose time. Time is money for the trucks," he said.   

San Diego could also get stimulus money through Proposition 1A, the high speed rail line, expected to create over 100,000 jobs in California.  The project will initially link San Francisco and Los Angeles, but San Diego is included in the second phase of the project.  Cunningham said alternative energy research will also be included in the program which should create jobs at local research institutions.

Professor Emeritus Tony Cherin of the SDSU School of Business says there is no shortage of infrastructure repairs that can be made in the county.  Money for those projects can create a positive ripple in the local economy.  "If you have workers repairing a highway, there will be business built to provide services for those workers.  So money flows from construction workers into smaller businesses and there are vendors to the people repairing the highway too" he said.  Most economist know this as a multiplier effect.  And Cherin said job creation must be the focus for long-term economic stimulus, as opposed to the package introduced earlier this year which sent taxpayers checks in the mail.

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