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Budget Deficits Casting Long Shadows Over Incoming Stimulus Funding

Barack Obama speaking in Flint, Mich. as a presidential candidate, Sept. 8, 2008. Flint was named by Forbes Magazine as the city with the longest road to recovery. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images) This morning's roundup of stimulus coverage:

* Capital improvements to the tune of $9 million will be made to California's Caltrain in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco counties while San Mateo's SamTrans will get $7 million. CA's massive budget shortage is the one to watch.

* Arizona expects $1 billion from the feds in state fiscal stabilization money from the stimulus. The money "allows Arizona to fill cuts made to schools and universities this year, and is expected to help reduce cuts to the state's education budget for the next school year." Just what is AZ's budget deficit? $4 billion.  The federal Department of Transportation also cut a $509 million check for Colorado.

* Location, location, location. Check out Forbes.com's "Best and Worst Cities for Recession Recovery." No surprise here: Sun Belt trumps Rust Belt and foreclosurevilles in California.

* They called it Government Motors. With the Treasury owning most of General Motors and a large stake in Chrysler, one might guess Uncle Sam would stop shopping at competitors. But the New York Times reports that Ford benefited most from the $300 million plan to buy new fuel-efficient cars for the government as part of the stimulus package.

* Now here's an interesting dilemma: Cleanup of Kansas' lead-mining region could damage a road recently repaved with stimulus funding. Kansas DOT stands behind the project. An EPA spokesman, according to McClatchy's David Goldstein, described the projects' timing as looking "less than graceful." The man behind this dust-up is Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan. Roberts wants the state to use the stimulus funds to relocate residents of a town contaminated by lead and zinc-mining instead.

* Projects kicking up some discussion today: $3 million to bolster Tennant, California's water supply, where its 82 residents are "outnumbered several times over by mule deer and antelope" and $20,000 to a North Dakota hatchery for upgrades, including a new cryo freezer for pallid sturgeon sperm samples.

* Construction on an ailing Pennsylvania bridge will be baptized today by none other than ... Vice President Biden.  No, the VP isn't fleeing DC after another public gaffe. The stop is part of a three-day tour announced shortly after critics began hammering the administration's job estimates Monday.  Close to 6,000 of Pennsylvania's bridges are structurally deficient, says Pennsylvania DOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick.

* I pointed this out yesterday, but it's worth chewing on again: Rasmussen poll finds 45 percent of Americans oppose stimulus program.

Staff reporter Michael Grabell contributed to this report.

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