By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- While Congress hammers out the size of the stimulus package, cities across the country are clamoring to be included. Tulsa city leaders are drawing up a list of projects they hope will receive some federal support. City leaders say the sweeping list focuses on projects that would bring jobs, long-term growth, and are ready to go.
Highways, roadways, waterways. All are different ways to try to snag a piece of the economic stimulus pie. President-elect Barack Obama wants to pump federal dollars into infrastructure to spur the nation out of recession.
"I think that this is a great opportunity for Oklahoma and every other state to get in on trying to re-shape this country and trying to get this country back on its feet," said Tulsa City Councilor Jack Henderson.
Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor is cuing up projects she says the city needs, but doesn't have the cash to complete. The list is still changing, but so far it totals nearly a billion dollars.
The biggest ticket items include upgrading the Port of Catoosa and more than $200 million to patch roads throughout the metro. Basically, it would pay for 74 projects that were dropped, when the city voted for the smaller streets package, last fall.
"We've got enough shovel-ready projects to totally absorb any allocation we would get. This would be the streets stuff that was ignored in the package that was passed last November," said Tulsa City Councilor Bill Martinson.
Public safety could also get a boost, including the plan for a new regional fire training center.
"We've really just outgrown our facility," said Tulsa Fire Captain Michael Baker.
The 20-acre site would be a partnership between the Tulsa Fire Department and Tulsa Community College and it would provide training to firefighters from all over Green Country.
The project was set to include new classrooms, training simulators, even a swift water rescue site. But, the funding has fallen through, now the department is moving forward, but scaling back its plans.
"If we could get this funded, it would not only be a model training center for the nation, but it would really increase the level of service that's being delivered throughout all of northeastern Oklahoma," said Tulsa Fire Captain Michael Baker.
The current list includes more than 30 projects and it's still in flux. But, a deadline is looming. The city's supposed to have its final list by Friday at 5 p.m.