Economic ‘war room’

NEWS10's Nicol Lally reports

With the $787 billion dollar stimulus plan into law, New York will soon see about $25 billion in aid. On Wednesday, state lawmakers met up to discuss how to divvy up that cash.

They are the men and women who will help turn billions of dollars in federal aid into jobs across the state. The Economic Recovery Cabinet “War Room” is full of charts, maps and long lists of infrastructure projects proposed by municipalities all over New York.

“What we are trying to do here is facilitate the municipalities understanding the information,” said War Room head Tim Gilchrist.

For the past six weeks, members of the roughly 30 person cabinet headed by Gilchrist, the senior state Advisor for Infrastructure and Transportation, have been pouring over requests and dollar amounts, aiming to get the most money and the most shovel ready projects going in the fastest amount of time.

“We've been doing this for six weeks,” Gilchrest reiterated, “We've been getting this information out ahead of the program,”

The group is hoping to compile a handbook to deliver to municipalities across the state, outlining how to obtain funding. This process is especially important to ensure that money is handed out fairly.

“The larger municipalities, the more sophisticated they are, they may have their own group. We are trying to look out for everybody,” Gilchrest said

There is no timeline set for how long this group will be at work, nor is there an exact date for projects to begin, but one thing Gilchrist will say is that everything is being done to make sure that New York reaps the benefits of the economic stimulus package.

“Until the last federal government dollar goes out, that's what we're trying to do here. We're trying to get people to work and we're going to work overtime to do that,” he said.

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