Senate to vote on stimulus package

By Gabriel Monte: Freedom New Mexico

As Congress debates the size of an economic stimulus package aimed at creating jobs by funding “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects, Clovis is working to get two projects ready for the bill, according to city officials.

City Manager Joe Thomas said replacing the Hull Street overpass and improving the city’s wastewater treatment plant are two projects the city wants to fund with stimulus money.

The Senate voted 61-38 Monday to end debate on the $827 billion package.

A final vote is scheduled today, according to Marissa Padilla, a spokeswoman for Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.

Meanwhile, a watchdog group, StimulusWatch.org, compiled a list of “shovel-ready” projects the bill could fund. The group built the list using information from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

But cities in eastern New Mexico, including Clovis, Portales and Tucumcari, are not on that list.

City officials and a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Ben Lujan, D-N.M., said that doesn’t mean the cities won’t get cash for major projects.

They said the stimulus bill does not include earmarks for specific districts. Once passed, the federal stimulus money will be sent to the state, which will dole it out to cities and communities like Clovis, Portales and Tucumcari based on a funding formula, according to Mark Nicastre, a spokesman for