As Congress debates the size of an economic stimulus package aimed at creating jobs by funding “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects, Clovis is working to get two projects ready for the bill, according to city officials.
City Manager Joe Thomas said replacing the Hull Street overpass and improving the city’s wastewater treatment plant are two projects the city wants to fund with stimulus money.
The Senate voted 61-38 Monday to end debate on the $827 billion package.
A final vote is scheduled today, according to Marissa Padilla, a spokeswoman for Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
Meanwhile, a watchdog group, StimulusWatch.org, compiled a list of “shovel-ready” projects the bill could fund. The group built the list using information from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
But cities in eastern New Mexico, including Clovis, Portales and Tucumcari, are not on that list.
City officials and a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Ben Lujan, D-N.M., said that doesn’t mean the cities won’t get cash for major projects.
They said the stimulus bill does not include earmarks for specific districts. Once passed, the federal stimulus money will be sent to the state, which will dole it out to cities and communities like Clovis, Portales and Tucumcari based on a funding formula, according to Mark Nicastre, a spokesman for Lujan.
Thomas said an engineering estimate of the new Hull Street overpass is due this month.
The city closed the Hull Street overpass in July for safety reasons. A state engineer said the 46-year-old bridge would not be able to support the 4,300 vehicles traffic using it daily.
BNSF railway tore down the bridge in November. Thomas said replacing the bridge would cost about $7 million.
Thomas said the city’s wastewater treatment plant also needs upgraded electrical and air induction systems. He said an estimated cost of the project is not yet available.
“The plant is over 20 years old,” he said. “It’s just more or less a refurbishment of the plant.”
The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the bill Jan. 28 with an estimated cost of $819 billion.
Maria Najera, a spokeswoman for Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said once the Senate passes its version of the stimulus package, select members of the House of Representatives and the Senate will meet to merge their versions of the bill.