Tulsa Mayor Bartlett: Stimulus package 'worked'
BY JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
Friday, January 21, 2011
3/19/11 at 10:09 AM
WASHINGTON - Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett on Thursday described as "a little unfair'' a House Republican proposal to cancel all unused stimulus funds.
"I would prefer them to at least give us an opportunity to use them for another reasonably supportive project,'' Bartlett said.
In Washington for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Bartlett again made positive comments about the impact of the 2009 stimulus package, which was opposed by every Oklahoma Republican in Congress.
"It worked,'' said the mayor, who is also a Republican.
Bartlett said the funding provided by the package, which was promoted by the Obama administration as a way to help jump-start the nation's faltering economy, gave Tulsa the opportunity to upgrade its infrastructure.
Last week, he specifically credited the $787 billion package for its economic impact on the city.
"This nationwide recovery measure has helped Tulsa as we come out of the recession,'' Bartlett said in a lengthy news release that provided details on how and where the stimulus dollars were spent.
According to that news release, Tulsa has received nearly $64 million in stimulus funds for crime, public safety, energy and environment, poverty and infrastructure projects.
It also cited the $75 million Inner Dispersal Loop state project to improve access to downtown Tulsa.
Bartlett's comments track the claims of the Obama administration but leave him at odds with House Republicans who included cancellation of unused stimulus funds in their so-called pledge announced prior to last year's mid-term elections.
A House Republican aide said he did not have an update on when that proposal would be addressed.
Like other items on the Republican-led House agenda, this proposal could face an uncertain fate in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Figures were not available on exactly what kind of impact the proposal would have.
Bartlett conceded he did not know whether any of Tulsa's funding would be covered by the proposal but made it clear he did not favor a repeal.
"To me, that seems a little unfair,'' he said.
On another issue, Bartlett praised Congress for approving a bill requiring the federal government to comply with local fees used to treat and manage polluted storm-water runoff and credited the role of Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., for helping to steer that measure to passage.
"That's a real victory for municipal governments,'' said Bartlett, who serves on a water committee with the Conference of Mayors.
When the bill was becoming law, Inhofe described it as another example of a bipartisan bill dealing with an unfunded federal mandate.
"It makes perfect sense that, as with other utilities, federal agencies pay their fair share of storm-water management fees,'' said the senator, the top Republican member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
"Right now, some federal agencies are not paying these fees, imposing costly burdens on the communities in which the agency operates.''
Original Print Headline: Mayor says GOP plan to nix stimulusfunds unfair
Jim Myers (202) 484-1424