South Plains receives nearly $158-million in stimulus funds - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/11/10

South Plains receives nearly $158-million in federal stimulus funds

By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - By the end of January, nearly $200-billion had been awarded to agencies across the country under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Just more than 6% of the contracts, grants, and loans went to Texas, totaling nearly $12.5-billion.  That averages out to about $596 per Texan.  That's if the money was distributed evenly, but we broke it down further.

Just a little more than 1% of money awarded to the state went to agencies on the South Plains. Lubbock and 18 surrounding counties received about $158-million according to recovery.gov, a web site set up to track the money. That averages out to about $364 per person.

About a quarter of South Plains' spending went to area school districts, colleges, and universities in educational grants totaling nearly $39-million.  Dr. Kelly Trlica says Lubbock ISD used grants to extend a successful reading program and paid for all 10th grade students to take the PSAT.  "That sends a very strong message to our students and our parents that we believe sincerely that every kid has the opportunity to go to college," Trlica said. 

Other projects include community grants, such as money for the Boys and Girls Club in Lamesa, and a grant to the Hale County Crisis Center for homeless prevention programs. Money is also awarded to wellness programs, for instance a grant to the Larry Combest Center in Lubbock.  "We'll be able to expand our services almost two fold, to over 5,000 patients," Alexia Green with TTU HSC Perry School of Nursing said. 

One of the most visual examples of recovery spending are TxDOT projects like the Northwest Passage Project and expansion of West Loop 289 in Lubbock, but TxDOT says there are multiple other projects across the district. "Most of those are rehabilitation projects where we're going to rebuild it and bring it back up to standards," Advanced Planning Engineer Jerry Cash said. 

"It's a shot in the arm right now; it helps the economy right now, but there are some long range goals," Cash said.  Cash says there is the possibility of more recovery money for road projects in the future.

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