Selma talks stimulus with Alabama's Finance Director

By Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- Ever since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed through congress in February, state and local governments tried desperately to get their hands on federal stimulus funds.

Alabama raked in nearly $3 billion, but cities like Selma want a piece of the action.

Mayor George Evans says the list of projects needing attention is growing.

"Infrastructure.  We need that. Traffic lights, curbing, sewer problems and things like that. Those are big time in our city," Evans explained.

Not so fast.

Tuesday, State Finance Director Jim Main met with city leaders and laid out a different stimulus plan for Selma.

It includes $3.8 million for the city school system and another $9.7 million to work on widening some roadways in Dallas County.

The rest, Main says, is all about competition.

"It's not discretionary money. It's formula driven and it's in grants.  You have to apply for it," he explained.

$500 million worth of grants available to any city or town statewide--if it comes out on top.

Evans says that's a tough feat.

"That's been one of the things we've always struggled with because the larger cities don't have to compete. They just write their proposals and get their money," Evans said.

Still, with some money coming in, city leaders hope for the best financial future possible.

"Everybody won't get what they want, and so I hope we can get what we want or at least a portion of what we want anyway," Evans explained.

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