Today's Question: Do local benefits change your opinion of the stimulus package?

Monday, March 16, 2009 | 11:03 a.m. CDT

Money from the federal government’s $787 economic stimulus package will be used to fill a “huge” need in Columbia, according to City Manager Bill Watkins.

The Missourian reported last week that the city will receive $9 million to build a new bridge for the COLT railroad track over Highway 63, a project Watkins said has been a high priority for years.

A day earlier, hundreds of people gathered in Flat Branch park to protest the already-passed stimulus bill.

The theme of the day was the Boston Tea Party. Protesters said they believe the government is spending too much money between multiple rounds of bailouts for Wall Street and automakers as well as the stimulus package.

They may not be the only ones fed up with how money is being spent. The president and members of his administration were quick to criticize the bailed-out insurer AIG for giving employees $165 million in bonuses last week and David Axelrod, a senior advisor to Obama, acknowledged that “there is a reason for anger” about the situation and that much work remains to be done.

Still, the administration obviously believes the stimulus will be able to help the sputtering economy in the long run, perhaps beginning with projects like Columbia’s new bridge.

What is your opinion of the stimulus package? Has that opinion changed now that you know some of the money will soon go to a local project?

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Elaine Litwiller March 16, 2009 | 3:28 p.m.

I'm not convinced the stimulus package is really going to do that much good. I think it should have contained more restrictions regarding how the money was spent. It really seems like the government just wrote a blank check. Which, of course, has lead to the money being spent in a manor that has angered many people. The package just seems to have done more harm than good at this point. In my opinion, the fact that some of the money will be received locally doesn't change the leopards spots.

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