So when our city fathers ask the Governor to consider sharing with us some of that coming stimulus money (not even the Governor's money, but free money from Obama!), you'd think Governor Rounds would say, "Okie doke! We'll keep a place at the trough for you," right?
Wrong. The Madison Daily Leader reports that the city commission will gather tonight to grit their teeth at the governor's underwhelming response to our suggestions on how Madison could use the stimulus money. The governor's Feb. 4 letter addresses the city's contention that adding two lanes to Highway 34 would be a really good use of stimulus money:
Thank you also for your suggested Highway 34/Interstate 29 project. It was passed on to the Department of Transportation (DOT), which is currently soliciting local government entitites across the state for their lists of projects for economic stimulus funds, should such funds become available. At this time, it appears projects eligible for economic stimulus funding will be limited to those that are ready to let to contract in 90-180 days so construction can commence immediately. Once the funds are ultimately made available and the "rules" known, the Department of Transportation will assess all the projects in the state eleigible for economic stimulus funding, in an effort to assure the funds are utilized on the highest priority projects across the state. We view this as a tremendous opportunity to preserve and enhance South Dakota's transportation system [Governor M. Michael Rounds, letter to Madison City Commission, 2009.02.04, archived in Madison City Commission agenda packet, 2009.02.09 meeting, pp. 3-4].
In other words: four lanes for Highway 34? Not interested.
The governor's letter also puts the kabosh on directing stimulus money toward upgrading the city water system and fixing the creek walls. The only Madison project the governor offers any stimulus hopes for is the Lewis and Clark water project.
Oh well. That's o.k. None of Madison's leading Republican lights want government handouts anyway... do they?