Pitkin County angles for stimulus money
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Pitkin County hopes to latch onto money from the federal stimulus package President Obama recently signed into law, although exactly how much and for what projects remain unknown.
Jim Elwood, director of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, is seeking part of roughly $1.1 billion in Aviation Trust money he said was included in the $787 billion stimulus package Obama signed last month in Denver.
Elwood said Tuesday that airport managers around the county were asked recently to come up with examples of “shovel ready” projects that could begin immediately, and he happened to have two ready to go ” two runway apron upgrades that were initially to be built several years ago.
One, he said, was a jet ramp used by private aircraft that was to have been rebuilt in 2001, “but we had to pull it” because of lack of funds. The other was another, smaller ramp near the new airport operations building on the Owl Creek Road side of the airport property.
Together, he said, the two projects are expected to cost about $3 million.
Elwood appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach toward securing the funding.
“We really don’t know anything,” he said. “We’re just standing around waiting like the rest of the world, to see if something happens.”
On a completely different front, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., announced Monday the formation of an “economic recovery team” as part of his staff, with the mission of “helping Colorado receive its fair share of federal funds” coming from that stimulus package.
Udall’s new economic recovery team came up during a work session of the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, when County Manager Hilary Fletcher informed the board of Udall’s announcement.
“He’s dedicated staff to help counties figure out what they’re eligible for in the stimulus package,” Fletcher told commissioners.
“Colorado’s economy, its workers, and its families are hurting right now,” said Udall. “The president and the Congress recently took bold action to provide tax relief to small businesses and families. But in addition to tax relief, several billion dollars will now flow to Colorado’s state and local governments, as well as Coloradans who may be eligible for various types of grants.”
Udall’s “economic recovery team” includes: Alan Salazar, senior political and policy advisor, who will oversee the team; Jennifer Rokala, state director; Heather Fox, director of grants and special projects; and Doug Young, director of state policy outreach.
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