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Tampa's wish list for stimulus reaches $695-million

TAMPA — Mayor Pam Iorio on Friday submitted her request for a piece of the federal economic stimulus package.

The list of 30 projects costs a total of $695-million and would create 5,305 jobs, Iorio wrote in a letter to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa.

"We looked only at big projects and projects we thought would make a difference," Iorio said.

Top priorities include expansion of the city's reclaimed water system and a redevelopment project on the edge of downtown spearheaded by the Tampa Housing Authority.

Congress this week rolled out an $825-billion proposal to boost the failing economy. The bill emphasizes energy, education, science and technology, health care, and road and bridge construction.

Castor said she is collecting suggestions from local governments and nonprofits on how to spend the money.

Iorio's reclaimed water project, with a price tag of $299-million, would increase use of the highly treated wastewater for irrigation, and reduce demand for drinkable water. Construction could begin this summer and would create 150 jobs.

The Housing Authority project, called Encore, suggests spending $27.9-million on roads, pipes and other basics needed to build more than 1,500 housing units, office and retail space, a hotel and middle school.

It's not a city undertaking, but Iorio said it would benefit the community by creating 955 jobs during construction and have a lasting economic impact.

Castor said there would be money for things like the Encore project Iorio is promoting.

"But they're going to have to show modernization and energy efficiency," Castor said. "Listen to what the president-elect is saying and don't give us a project that doesn't give significant job creation, energy savings or innovation."

She spoke highly of Hillsborough County's proposal to make its buildings more energy efficient and predicted Hillsborough schools would fare well, with $2-billion possibly directed to Head Start programs nationwide.

She also said she would promote funding for a research facility at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center.

"The big winner, that I've really been bird-dogging for the state of Florida, is health care," she said. "We're about to drawn down probably $2-billion plus and it may end up being as much as $4-billion just for the state."

That could benefit the Tampa Bay area, which has a large number of hospitals, she said.

Other items on Iorio's list include $5-million for two bridges over the Hillsborough River; $2.2-million for upgrades at the intersection of Dale Mabry Highway and Kennedy Boulevard; and $1-million to improve energy efficiency of city buildings.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa's wish list for stimulus reaches $695-million 01/16/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 16, 2009 10:56pm]
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