El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

NPT Capitol: Chavez: TXDOT funds welcome. But more to come …if…

chavezTXDOT looks set to hand El Paso a $75m portion of it’s own $1.5bn stimulus purse. Speaking to NPT earlier this week, state Rep Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, while welcoming these funds, was quick to point out the possibility of more…much more that could come the Sun city’s way.

“There is more to the stimulus billions than TXDoT funds. There are workforce dollars, human services dollars…(and so on),” said Chavez, who sits on the Appropriations Stimulus Subcommittee, which she claims will make most of the decisions on the monies that go to the state (above and in addition to TxDoT and MPO’s). Chavez spoke energetically about the subcommittee, and the Select Stimulus Committee headed by Jim Dunnum, D-Waco.

“When Chair Dunnum finishes with his hearings, he will make legislative recommendations to our committee…Their committee will make recommendations on legislative changes that need to be made, for example for workforce funds, we get $30m, but if we make some legislative tweaks we get $230m more,” said Chavez.

That’s just workforce funds. Over $500m could be pulled down if Texas changed its laws on unemployment benefit according to the Statesman. Also there could be a windfall of matching funds ($5 from the feds for every 2$ Texas puts up) available if the state expanded CHIP coverage to 300% of the federal poverty level (from it’s present level of 200%) Chavez, who sits on Appropriations, Calendars and now the Stimulus subcommittee, is in a good position to help maximize the federal funds available to El Paso through the expansion of state programs as well as one-time fund drops like the TXDOT money.

“I am appreciative of the opportunity to serve on this committee that will deal with billions of federal dollars to the states,” said Chavez



Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 27, 2009 at 11:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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