Originally published on WHYY’s It’s Our City blog:

Following the money

by Ben Bradlow, WHYY Online

There is a lot of money coming out of the federal government these days. Yesterday, Barack Obama signed a bill authorizing a historically large chunk of this money with the new federal stimulus package.

Let’s admit our self-interest here. We want to know what this bill means for the city of Philadelphia.  When – and where – are we going to see the money?

Shortly after President Barack Obama’s election, Mayor Michael Nutter led a committee of mayors from across the country to submit a list of shovel-ready projects in American cities that could receive federal stimulus funds.  Still, it has long been clear that state governments would be receiving most of the funds.  Alan Berube, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, said that this is due to distinct Washington, DC political realities.

“The mayors were up against a couple things. One is just interest group politics in Washington and that transportation has often been dominated by less urban interests, people like the road builders,” he said. “They also faced the obstacle that the purpose of this bill was to spend money quickly. The bias in the bill was to put money into existing programs, not creating new ones.” …

Read the rest here.

Originally appeared on WHYY’s It’s Our City blog:

I attended my first of the Mayor Michael Nutter’s town hall meetings about his planned budget cuts last night. There’s been a lot of discussion about the evolving stagecraft of the town hall meetings. It was a welcome innovation to have the relevant department heads speak in addition to the mayor, and Nutter was relatively mobile throughout the gymnasium. City officials are distributing forms asking people to say what they view as the city services to be prioritized in the budget, and they’ve already started publishing the results. Still, this meeting seemed stuck between two different political goals: explaining the cuts and seeking input from the public…

Read the rest here.


Also, Swarthmore – unprompted by me! – linked to my video piece about a casino development in Philadelphia. You can find that here.

I’ll be back to actually blogging at this site in the next day or two.