Dan McKay has an excellent story in this morning’s ABQJournal on some of the practical aspects of trying to spend all that federal cash in a hurry (ad gated):
[C]ritics are starting to wonder whether the massive projects are remotely realistic — even if Congress doles out the money.
For one thing, under federal law, accepting federal money usually means getting environmental clearances, which can take up to two years.
But President-elect Barack Obama wants projects that are “shovel ready,” perhaps with construction starting within six months.
The Obama transition team is reviewing the environmental-impact-study process and how to improve it, the Journal has learned. A transition spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on the issue.
Ed Adams, Albuquerque’s chief administrative officer, put it this way: “If they expect to have the cities and the counties move these projects forward, they’ve got to streamline the environmental process. They can’t run these projects the way they’ve done in the past.”