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Johnstone Says Stimulus Projects Will Pick Up Soon

The head of the Louisville At Work program, which oversees federal stimulus funding, says the program has exceeded his expectations.Rick Johnstone addressed a Metro Council committee Wednesday. He says around 458 million stimulus dollars have come to Louisville, and that's twice as much as he expected when the stimulus bill became law early last year.The money is credited with creating about 11 hundred jobs, some of them seasonal or temporary. Johnstone says the jobs number is determined by a formula and is not an accurate representation of the money's effectiveness."When you do the federal number, the FTE—full time equivalent, the calculation is 1,152 people. Actually, more than 2,100 people received money—stimulus dollars—as a result of work that was created because of the ARRA funding," he says.Johnstone says his major complaint with the stimulus is the number of regulatory hurdles that must be cleared before money can be spent."This was supposed to be shovel-ready stuff, 60 days," he says. "We're just getting ready to do sidewalks, it's been a year and two months. We've been looking at environmental on sidewalks, we've been looking at all kinds of hurdles we have to go through."Johnstone says in the coming months, work on some 25 hundred projects will begin.For more on the difficulties presented by multiple stimulus projects underway simultaneously, click here.

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