REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Use the stimulus for what can be fixed now

If we're going to have a stimulus, let's stimulate. Gov. Ted Strickland and the rest of the gang at Broad and High st
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

If we're going to have a stimulus, let's stimulate.

Gov. Ted Strickland and the rest of the gang at Broad and High streets deserve a "nice try, now try again" for what they want to do with the stimulus money that's supposed to come cascading down from Washington.

They want to spend the money on studies ... more than any one of the Ohio Department of Transportation's districts is given in a year ... for projects that might not be built for years.

That's $57 million, out of Ohio's $774 million projected share of President Barack Obama's shot in the arm, for:

n A two-year study of a highway and rail project in Cincinnati;

n A study of a three-milr road connecting Interstate 490 to Cleveland's museum district;

n $7 million for design work on a high-speed rail plan (we support that, by the way ... but there are roads that need to be fixed now.)

To be fair, planning and engineering could lead to more work later, but that stimulus money is likely to be a one-time shot. Get that study done and where will the money come from for the actual work?

Meanwhile, towns and townships and counties are being told, sorry, your "shovel-ready" projects don't fit the picture.

"I could have dug that darn thing myself, that's how shovel-ready we were," Fostoria's mayor said about two railroad crossing bridges that won't get funding.

Long-term planning is great, but the point of the stimulus, at least as far as we've come to infer from what Washington's saying, is to provide a shot in the arm.

Provide at least a temporary infusion of jobs and income for the people who make asphalt, drive the construction equipment, sling the girders and gravel. That's a benefit.

Oh yes, and get the roads fixed. That's a benefit, too.

Studies benefit ... well, the people who do the studies.

Let's not be like Hawaii, where a road into a major tourist area on Kauai was knocked out by storms and a group of businessspeople, tired of waiting for the folks over on the big island to get off the dime, raised the money and fixed the road.

Took 'em eight days. That's what CNN.com said, anyway.

Then again, maybe that's not such a bad idea.

But we digress. As things stand now, Washington hasn't said yea or nay to Columbus on that stimulus request.

We think Washington should say, "try again."

And we think Columbus should take another look at what local governments say is ready to go now.

And stimulate the heck out of it.