Loudoun Finalizes Federal Stimulus Wish List

By Kafia A. Hosh
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 5, 2009

Loudoun County officials, in their bid for a share of the federal stimulus money that the state will distribute to local governments, have compiled a $378 million list of projects that qualify for the aid and sent it to the governor's office.

The Board of Supervisors approved the list Tuesday at the urging of county staff members.

Assistant County Administrator John Sandy said it was unclear how many of the projects, if any, might receive stimulus money.

But he noted that tomorrow is the deadline for local governments to submit their requests through a Web site the governor's office has established. He also said that as of Sunday, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) had received requests to use stimulus money for 210 other Loudoun-related projects, with most of those requests coming from nonprofit organizations, individuals and the county's incorporated towns.

Virginia's share of stimulus funds will total almost $4 billion. The list approved by the Loudoun board consists of $291 million in school projects and $87 million in other capital improvements.

The projects include big-ticket and small items, including $10.2 million for the construction of the Brambleton Public Safety Center and $250,000 for the purchase of hybrid vehicles for the county's fleet. The list has only one transportation project: $45 million to fund the routes 7 and 659 interchange.

Among the school projects are $83 million for construction of Tuscarora High School, $70.6 million to build Woodgrove High and $7.3 million for computer labs and building repairs at various schools.

The list is a streamlined version of a $744 million wish list that supervisors submitted to Congress in January before the criteria for funding had been established in the federal legislation. One criterion is that infrastructure projects must be ready to start within 120 days of receiving money.

After Congress approved the legislation, the county's goal was to "fine-tune the list to find out things we can do in a short period of time," Sandy said, adding that many of the Loudoun projects can begin within 90 days of getting federal funds.

The board approved the list 6 to 1, with Eugene A. Delgaudio (R-Sterling) casting the dissenting vote and Chairman Scott K. York (I) absent.

Despite their approval, some supervisors had questions about how the list was compiled. Some wondered how the county would fund the operating costs of new facilities on the list, such as a respite center in eastern Loudoun, if construction money is approved.

"If the state says we can use the money for the respite center, that means we have to build it," Supervisor Lori L. Waters (R-Broad Run) said. "And so we can't set an operating budget for it unless we know whether it's in or out."

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