Louisville's share of the Omnibus bill

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WHAS11.com

Posted on March 12, 2009 at 9:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 15 at 1:22 PM

(WHAS11) - "Stimulus," "omnibus," call it what you want because it's all the same thing - money. Taxpayer money. The president signed an omnibus bill that approves millions of dollars earmarked for very specific projects in Louisville.

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So how will your money benefit you?

A lot of the projects are educational, environmental and construction. We have the list here and we asked everyday people-t he employed; the unemployed; those helping people facing foreclosures - "are these earmarks on the mark?"

"If my administration evaluates an earmark and determines that it has no legitimate public purpose, then we will seek to eliminate it...,"said President Barack Obama.

$6.27M for the McAlpine Locks and Dam project; almost $2M for the Airport; $950K for the Bridges Project; and 375K for mobile computers for LMPD all made the cut.

So, will they stimulate the local economy?

"I think so... I think so...," said one woman at the unemployment office.

"I think all money is good money...," said Ben Richmond, President/CEO of the Louisville Urban League.

How about -- $235K to prevent invasive species growth in Iroquois and Olmsted Parks; $225K for Crime Prevention for the elderly; and $190K for solar powered lights around the city?

"It should --- all these projects should have something to do with jobs," said Michael Ubelhart.

"I think it's bologna, I'm not for sure that it's really going to work because it's not really going to the people that really needs it, and the community that really needs it," said Esther White.

"That money could be used for something else," said Community Activist Vincent Moore.

Some local non-profits will benefit: $285K for the Home of the Innocents; $390K for Kosair Children's Hospital; $95K for Gilda's Club.

"People are continuing to get cancer everyday and need that social and emotional support that we provide. And we see more and more numbers, and it's costing more to do it," said President/CEO of Gilda's Club Karen Morrison.

Yarmuth's office says the McAlpine project, the energy projects and the Bridges projects will create jobs-they just haven't calculated how many yet.

And the Louisville Urban League-which works with those hit hardest by the economy-says these earmarks are right on the money.

"Whatever can be brought in this community to help the quality of life, I am for it," said Richmond.

Senator Mitch McConnell criticized the omnibus bill as too expensive. But he's taking credit for some of those projects, including the McAlpine Locks and Dam project, the airport, and several million dollars for research at the University of Louisville.

Here's the complete list of projects supported by Yarmuth:

"With the economic challenges facing us, it's critical that Louisville gets the federal support necessary to continue moving forward," Congressman Yarmuth said. "The programs funded in this bill will keep Louisvillians working, while improving health care, transportation infrastructure, education, and public safety and wellness."

Transportation - HUD

$1,995,000 - Louisville International Airport

The funding will support numerous capacity and safety improvements at the workplace of more than 40,000 people in Louisville.

$950,000 - Kentucky-Ohio River Bridges Project

The funding will be used for the two new Ohio River bridges as well as reconstruction of "Spaghetti Junction" in downtown Louisville.

$475,000 - TARC Clean Bus Program

The Transit Authority of River City (TARC) will use the funding to replace older, poor performing buses with new, clean-diesel buses. The new state-of-the-art buses will give TARC a top notch and environmentally friendly fleet of buses unrivaled by most major cities.

$285,000 - Home of the Innocents

The children's village at Home of the Innocents provides a supportive home for children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. Residents receive regular counseling and education as well as a schedule of social events, offering them a well-rounded upbringing that empowers them to build strong, successful futures.

Agriculture

$ 235,000 - Woodlands Restoration in Iroquois Park, Olmsted Parks Conservancy

This restoration project will preserve the park by stemming invasive species growth, protecting wildlife, and preventing erosion in the woodlands area.

Labor - HHS

$190,000 - Simmons College of Kentucky

The 130-year-old institution will use the funding to address the education and workforces development shortcomings in the African-American community. This program will involve community outreach and dialogues with Louisville's leading experts, research studies into the severity and causes for disparity, and the dissemination of the results of the research studies to local residents and agencies.

$390,000 - Kosair Children's Hospital

This funding will be used to expand and renovate the neonatal unit in order to decrease infant morbidity, the average length of stay, and costs to the hospital and patients .

$95,000 - Muhammad Ali Center

The Muhammad Ali Center will use the funds to develop an educational outreach program. The program will target local students and incorporate a broad range of educational initiatives, including exposure to other cultures, lessons in leadership, and community service.

$95,000 - Gilda's Club

This funding will provide free education and peer-based counseling to youths and their families regarding cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. By combining a multidisciplinary team representing a local network of cancer support and awareness, this project will increase awareness of each participating organization's resources, enhance education of the disease and treatment, and provide support to pediatric cancer families.

Financial Services

$196,514- Louisville Central Community Centers, Small Business Incubator

LCCC's Small Business Incubator will help aspiring entrepreneurs in the Russell neighborhood in West Louisville open businesses in the facility at a low cost and offer support services, including a shared business center, for the emerging companies. LCCC will use this funding to complete the project, which is expected to host 12-15 new businesses in the initial phase with about 35 full-time employees.

Energy and Water

$6,270,000- mcalpine Locks and Dams, Army Corps of Engineers

This funding will finalize construction of a 110ft x 1200ft lock and an access bridge to Shipping port Island located in the Ohio River. Shipping on the river is still the most cost, time, and energy efficient method of moving goods, as the cargo of a single barge tow is equal to that of 870 semi-trucks or 225 jumbo hopper train cars. After falling behind schedule due to lack of funding in FY06, the project got back on track in 2008 and is expected to be completed on schedule, next year.

$190,300 - Energy Efficient Lighting Project, City of Louisville

This funding will allow for the installation of solar powered lights in areas where no electric infrastructure exists, but poses safety problems. The project will include the installation of lights at school bus stops, where children currently have to wait on the street in the dark, early morning hours.

$142,725 - Energy Conservation Initiative, City of Louisville, Louisville Zoo

This program will work with partners to design and implement energy conservation measures, including green roofs. This project will provide an opportunity to create an environmental education program and will serve as demonstration projects of best practices.

Commerce-Justice-Science FY09

$375,000 - Mobile Data Computers, Louisville Metropolitan Police Department

Louisville Metro Police Department will use this funding to replace mobile data computers that are outdated and unable to be repaired. LMPD depends heavily on these machines, but the outdated models have been failing and are not compatible or upgradeable to use with current programs. The funding will be used to support the continuation of this replacement program which is already underway.

$225,000 - Crime Prevention Services for the Elderly, Elder Serve, Inc.

Elder Serve offers a network that coordinates existing services to help prevent elder abuse and neglect and offer care to seniors who are victims of crime. This funding will be used to expand the programs, giving them the ability to provide seven day-a-week preventative services and crisis intervention requests to homebound elderly, as well as a "safe house" for crime victims. Last month, Congressman Yarmuth introduced legislation to expand Louisville's Elder Serve program to a national level.

$150,000 - Second Chance Veterans Transitional Program, Volunteers of America.

In three years as a pilot program, the Second Chance Veterans Transitional Program has been remarkably successful, cutting recidivism by 90 percent. This funding will provide critical services to veterans transitioning out of prison, who are at high risk of homelessness upon their release. The program costs $700-$1,200 per veteran and matches them with mentors to help them acquire the tools need to get jobs, find housing, and reintegrate into civilian life. By contrast, the taxpayer cost to incarcerate individuals is $18,000 per year. Kentucky, which has the fastest growing prison population in the country, saved about $2 million per year through the Second Chance pilot program, which served 328 veterans in three years.

The FY09 budget also includes $75 million for Louisville's VA hospital, $1.6 million for University of Louisville's research into minimizing health effects of air toxics on military personnel, $1.7 million for uofl's Digital Directed Manufacturing research, and $1.6 million for Composite Tissue Allotransplantation at the National Foundation to Support Cell Transplant Research in Louisville. All four projects were signed into law last year.

Here's a list of projects supported by mcconnell:

$6.270 million for the mcalpine Locks and Dam Project. Senator mcconnell supports then President Bush's FY'09 budget request to complete the mcalpine Locks and Dam Project in FY 2009. This level of funding will permit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to maintain the construction schedule and completean auxiliary lock chamber, which will allow the facility to handle projected traffic increases.

$5.709 million for the University of Louisville to further develop cardiovascular research facilities, including the purchase of a research-grade MRI scanner for cardiac research. This important equipment will help researchers at uofl study heart functions for the purpose of combating heart diseases.

$2.85 million for the University of Louisville Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Program. Uofl researchers will use these funds to purchase new technology that will allow them to analyze health information to help doctors and scientists better understand and combat diseases.

$750,000 for the University of Louisville Rejuvenating Injured Tissues for Enhanced Wound Healing Project.Uofl plans to use the funding, which is provided through NASA, to help identify factors that hinder the wound healing process and then develop counter-measures to eliminate these factors so that wounds can self-heal. This technology will be useful to trauma victims who do not have immediate access to emergency medical care, such as troops in the field or astronauts.

$500,000 for the University of Louisville Center for Child Abuse Assessment and Prevention. Uofl officials say that as many as 50 percent of deaths from physical child abuse and neglect are unrecorded. The university would like to establish a center to develop scientific, objective and reliable methods for detecting child abuse.

$951,000 for the University of Louisville to purchase equipment to expand its training program to address the shortage of rural doctors. Uofl has tackled the shortage of rural doctors by providing medical students clinical courses through the Trover Clinic in Madisonville, Kentucky. These funds would expand the program by creating a broadcast center at uofl to broadcast CT, MRI, and other scans, along with teaching tools to these students in western Kentucky.

$1.995 million for the Louisville International Airport Safety Area Improvements Project. These funds will be used for improvements to ensure the maneuverability of larger aircrafts on the airfield and the relocation of signs and lights for runway and taxiway safety.

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