Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Where is the stimulus money going?

Mecklenburg may be the state's largest county, but it ranks third in the amount of federal stimulus dollars allocated so far, according to data from the state agency created to handle distribution of the money.

The N.C. Office of Economic Recovery and Investment recently released this breakdown of stimulus allocations, showing how much was given to counties for a variety of projects like public housing, crime control and school lunch equipment.

(Note: you'll need to zoom in on the PDF to read the report.)

The chart only includes allocations made through the end of June and does not include any direct grants awarded to local governments by federal agencies.

Mecklenburg has received $219 million so far, including $37.3 million for roads and bridges, and $20.8 million to the Charlotte Area Transit System. By comparison, Cumberland County has received more than $255 million, with another $246 million going to Wake County.

Still, an analysis by the Observer shows that, with the exception of Cumberland, urban counties have received less on a per-person basis in stimulus money so far than rural counties. Mecklenburg has received $246 per person in stimulus funds through the end of June, compared with a statewide average of $328 per person, according to the article by reporter Steve Harrison.

That's largely because many of the dollars are being doled out using current state formulas, some of which favor rural communities.

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