Ted Simons: FEDERAL STIMULUS DOLLARS ARE LANDING AT SKY HARBOR AIRPORT. PART OF THE MONEY WILL BE USED TO CREATE A NEW TAXI WAY, WHICH THE AIRPORT EXPECTS TO HELP ON A NUMBER OF FRONTS. I RECENTLY SPOKE WITH PHOENIX MAYOR PHIL GORDON ABOUT THE STIMULUS DOLLARS MAKING THEIR WAY TO TOWN.
Ted Simons: Mayor Phil Gordon, thank you so much for joining us on horizon.
Phil Gordon: Thank you.
Ted Simons: The stimulus money how much in total is Phoenix getting?
Phil Gordon: Phoenix so far has been allocated since January not through the state but directly over $270 million. That translates to either saving or creating almost 3,000 direct jobs related to the projects because all of the money goes in the projects and probably another double that in terms of companies, jobs that support those jobs.
Ted Simons: That's how much the city is getting. How much has the city already received?
Phil Gordon: I think it's somewhere in the 50 to 75 million. It's starting to accelerate. Like yesterday not only did we announce the Grant that we got last Friday for a million dollars to convert heavy diesel trucks to cleaning burning which creates new jobs. But we were also under construction for the airway taxiway project that we got in March.
Ted Simons: The taxiway C project, talk to us more about that. Whoa project is that? How big of project is that?
Phil Gordon: Of the 285 families, the 285 jobs that created to support 285 families is very big and very important. $12 million project, 285 individuals were hired or jobs that were on the line of maintained. That will create the environment that will allow our commercial airlines to cross from the south runway to the north runway without taxiing all the way around the air fields but simply going across the fields on the taxiway that is currently asphalt and therefore wouldn't support the weight, only the small, private airplanes would. Now we will be able to do that. We'll save the environment by less carbon emissions and diesel and we'll save the airlines money by making time in taxiing and quicker on the ground for the passengers and most importantly we created jobs that are putting Arizonans and Phoenixes to work.
Ted Simons: Other projects getting stimulus money. What other projects are going on out there.
Phil Gordon: We have received Grant money to hire two city attorneys that will be U.S. attorneys prosecuting felony gun cases in federal court which has been a very successful program to put the bad guys away for a long time. We have received energy grants besides the one I mentioned but also to put in new weatherization in city buildings, doors and insulation that creates jobs with the small and large companies that puts that in and save money on solar energy saving packages on some of the garages. With transportation we received additional monies working on the light rail project. We haven't received it but that's one we are working on for additional monies. In commerce we received grants. In E.P.A. we received grants. We are working on every field you can think of from education to transportation.
Ted Simons: Is there a timeline for some of these projects and the money coming in? How does that dynamic work?
Phil Gordon: Well, the process basically you can divide the process into two. One is those monies that were awarded initially and quickly back in January to almost states exclusively, the cities across the nation got a small, small amount of the first package maybe less than 20% of the total stimulus. Most of that money went to states and most went to balance the budgets or will be. The rest of it is called competitive grants where the secretaries and different agencies are taking solicitation on projects that will create jobs immediately that will get done within 18 to 36 months depending on which departments and leverage the funds of sustainability. Those are the ones we are focused on receiving where I go to D.C. often working hard to get that money and we have been very successful. Money has been coming slowly and unfortunately it should have been coming faster. The book was never written on this. Now today that money is starting. When I say today, it's starting to accelerate the bill last month and we'll be accelerating a lot more particularly to the city of Phoenix where we get it out on the street and create jobs quicker.
Ted Simons: Senator Jon Kyl said on a national television news show that the stimulus plan is not working. That unspent stimulus money should be redirected by congress because as he says sees it--as he sees it the system is not working the way its supposed to. Why is he wrong?
Phil Gordon: First of all let me say I have significant and high respect for the senator and on a lot of issues he supported the city and me. And like all we disagree on other issues sometimes small amounts and other times large amounts. In this case I respectfully say the senator is wrong. He is right in one sense that the money is not flowing quickly enough. The president is right in congress. We are also in such economic straits in getting the money out so it's not misspent and requires guidelines. I believe the senator needs to focus on getting the money out quick and the jobs are ones that Arizonans need immediately and directly. When you say reallocate, again reallocate never gets done and we can't do that. Tell that not thousands of workers that were laid off last month and people like today James the operator that was laid off a couple of months ago and now hired back by aims construction to go to work on this taxi way project. He has two children and a wife and so putting this money to it's proper use is important and we don't have the ability to delay this anymore by "killing it and reallocating it."
Ted Simons: Yet, there's a line of thought if you reallocate this towards more business investment give market more to use and the market will use it better and for those workers. How again would you respond? Especially with the idea once the stimulus money is gone, it's gone. Secondary question here, are you prepared as what's happening ramping up the job market or is it just simply a stopgap for now?
Phil Gordon: First let's address the second one. We need a stimulus booster shot to get the economy going. Sitting and waiting and do nothing is what created the giant hole we are in. And there are lots of signs that things are towards the end, the bottom and hopefully climbing out of it. Getting people to work right away just like what happened in the great depression was the most important thing. Let's get to the point where two or three years from now, we are worried about whether the economy now has maintained itself on its own or we need additional help whatever that may be. So I think it's important we get the money out and use it and the city uses every dollar whether Phoenix or New York and create jobs not to balance the budget. This is about families in Arizona small and large benefiting businesses and help families. With respect to where that money should go, you know, I have heard different things again whether it's a senator or other people who voiced their opposition to the plan. Number one, it's the tack pair money that Arizonans paid for and we need fair share and create jobs otherwise it will go elsewhere. Number two the private industries agree should be benefited as well as education institutions and part of the stimulus package a good portion is research and job sector whether it's the banks or automobile industry or solar industry. It's also for the universities and schools. It's also for the governments not to balance their budget but for us to put out in the front end cost to create solar energy so our operating expenses go down so our taxpayer monies are saved and we can use that for more officers or to expand our services or to cutback on the budget but not to put it into energy that keeps literally going up through the meter.
Ted Simons: All right. Mayor, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
Phil Gordon: Thank you.