The Wall Street Journal reports — weeks after it was reported locally — that $2.5 million of the Arkansas governor’s discretionary federal stimulus money will contribute to renovation of the old Rock Island bridge linking the Clinton Library site with North Little Rock. Everybody the Journal quotes thinks it’s just peachy. You get the idea the article didn’t wind up where it started out.
The foundation confirmed that several of its staffers contacted the governor’s office and discussed funding for the bridge, but declined to offer details of the conversations. While federal agencies have to disclose contact with lobbyists concerning the distribution of stimulus money, those rules don’t apply to funds being allocated through the states or to nonregistered lobbyists.
Mr. Beebe’s office hasn’t published written criteria for its selection process, but decided to support projects that could be completed with a one-time capital investment, create jobs for residents and have “some aspect of sustainability,” Mr. DeCample said. The bridge renovation is “going to create jobs and put our steel mills to work,” he added.
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said the project has strong merits, including transportation benefits for the region, and “just happens” to be on the Clinton presidential site.
The project is expected to cost $10.5 million. About $2 million more in commitments are needed. Library officials have said they hope to get the final funding lined up in the next two months.