City Web sites track new federal money

About a dozen cities have set up Web sites to track their money from the federal economic stimulus law, but the quality of those sites varies widely, according to testimony at a Senate hearing today.

About $50 billion to $60 billion in funding from the law will go directly to local governments and municipalities, Carolyn Coleman, director of federal relations for the National League of Cities, told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Cities that include Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, New York City and Reno, Nev., have established sites that offering updated information on their projects, Coleman said. “There is a range of content on the recovery Web sites; some are dynamic, and some are static,” Coleman said.

New York City’s site is very sophisticated, with links to updated data on five categories of recovery spending, she said, while some of smaller communities are primarily posting links to information available on the federal Recovery.gov Web site. Some of the local sites display links to Recovery.gov, but Recovery.gov does not appear to display links to any local sites.

Overall, the local government agencies are working hard to prepare for the money but face problems in capacity and stress to their personnel and systems to handle such a large volume of spending at once, Coleman said.

State governments also have problems preparing for the anticipated $300 billion they are to get, Ray Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association, testified.

States need more time to plan for long-term investments that include health information technology, broadband systems and scientific research, Scheppach said.


About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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