71 city projects are on hold awaiting $256 million in promised U.S. funds Federal money could fuel 10,000 Baltimore jobs.

February 12, 1992|By Carol Emert | Carol Emert,States News Service

WASHINGTON -- Seventy-one Baltimore public works projects are ready to be implemented, but have been delayed by a lack of federal funds, according to a report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Baltimore would stand to gain 10,471 jobs in fiscal 1992 if the $256,213,000 in federal funding were provided, according to the report, which was based on data provided by Baltimore and other cities.

"The projects we present . . . are not 'make work' projects, they are 'must work' projects," says Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn, president of the mayors' conference. "These projects must go forward if we are to pull our country out of recession and prepare ourselves for the economic competition of the 21st century."

The survey of 305 cities found 4,543 public works projects that are included in the 1992 federal budget, but could be delayed due to a lack of funding. Some 280,500 jobs could be created in those cities this year if the projects received funding, Mr. Flynn said yesterday.

If all "ready-to-go" projects across the country were funded, an estimated 1.5 million jobs could be created -- and that does not include the indirect benefits of the economic stimulus, Mr. Flynn said. "There's no better social policy for this country than a job," he said.

The survey was compiled at the request of Senate leaders, who two weeks ago asked Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and other members of the mayors' conference to help Congress craft an economic stimulus package. Mr. Flynn presented the report to the House Budget Committee yesterday.

Baltimore projects that may be shelved include the Christopher Columbus Center for Marine Research and Exploration, an Inner Harbor project that the report says would create 2,500 jobs.

"If the outstanding money doesn't come through, there will be no project," said Gillian Bishop of the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's quasi-public development arm. The federal government is expected to provide about half of the Columbus Center's funding, with the rest coming from state and local governments and private sources, she said.

Construction of the center, scheduled to begin in October, could start sooner if federal funds come through, said Florence W. Prioleau, a city lawyer for Baltimore.

Other projects on hold include a Lakewood Avenue storm drain that would provide 700 jobs and the resurfacing of Interstate 895, which would provide 535 jobs, the report said.

Mr. Flynn said $6.6 billion in funding for the projects could come from cuts in the defense budget.

Counties, particularly in Maryland and Virginia, also are suffering fTC from a lack of federal funding, said John H. Stroger Jr., commissioner from Cook County, Ill., who presented a report by the National Association of Counties on "ready-to-go" projects in counties.

Maryland and Virginia counties are among the hardest hit because "local taxes closely track the economic activity" of those states, the report says.

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