It never made sense: Erie County, whose unemployment rate rose, didn't qualify for federal Recovery Bonds because, through a statistical fluke, the number of officially unemployed people went down.
But County Commissioner Bill Monaghan pushed, and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur pushed, and the Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2010 included "fixes" that made sure each county got a share of Recovery Bond funds.
The House approved the act two weeks ago and the Senate has the measure now. We hope the changes approved by the House survive Senate debate, as they're expected to.
The money is intended to help counties dealing with high unemployment numbers to more cheaply finance infrastructure projects, putting people to work. Among the projects mentioned as possibilities: an expansion of the Kalahari water park and resort in Huron Township and the construction of the American Legends ballpark just up the road in Perkins Township.
Financing for those projects, or whichever projects end up being funded, might have cost the county much more without the bonding authority granted by the Act. Last year's bonding authority was good for $6 million in Ottawa County and $3.8 million for Huron County -- and we don't begrudge either hard-hit county a cent of that. But the fluke that left Erie County in the cold never made sense, and we're glad Monaghan and Kaptur pushed to get that taken care of.
Let's hope the Senate sees the need just as much, and let's see what we can do with the money.