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Two Months In, Terre Haute Hasn’t Seen Stimulus Yet

Two months after the federal stimulus package passed, Indiana cities are preparing for an infusion of cash with the hopes their local economies will benefit from the added cash.

Speaking on WFIU’s Ask the Mayor, Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett says the stimulus has had no impact on his city yet, although it’s been promised millions of dollars.

He says there hasn’t been a sustained psychological boost among his constituents because they haven’t seen tangible benefits yet.

“What I saw was a big peak of excited when it passed and everybody was getting wound up. And of course we started getting calls from construction companies and engineering firms and attorney firms and everybody wanting some business and that died off pretty quickly. And then you start going through the rep tape process of applying for the money and waiting for the paper work to be process and approve or disproved. And so I think that early emotion is gone,” Bennett said.

Bennett says most of the money the city’s been promised comes from non-competitive routes of funding. Terre Haute has applied for many more projects that will be decided on in the next few months.

Calling the red tape to apply for these funds “phenomenal,” Bennett says his community is cautiously optimistic about how the stimulus will eventually help their city.

“We will start generating some things, creating some jobs, some of those will be temporary jobs. At least we will be putting some people to work and we’ll use the stimulus money as wisely as we can in our community. So now people are waiting on how will it really stimulate the economy. Is this going to put a bunch of people to work? Can I see it, can I feel it? And we’re in that waiting mode now,” Bennett said.

Bennett says unemployment in Terre Haute has surpassed nine percent. He says he expects it to inch higher in the next few months, but says the jobs spring brings in with the construction season should help the city.

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