A Visit to Albany’s Stimulus War Room

ALBANY—The governor's press office today gave reporters a glimpse of the "war room" where infrastructure projects funded by the federal stimulus are being coordinated.

Up a flight of stairs in a back corner on the second floor of the Capitol, staffers from various state agencies comprising the Economic Recovery Cabinet sat at a table stacked with wish lists of projects submitted by municipalities of every level. Timothy Gilchrist, who Paterson appointed to head the effort, gestured toward one of the half-dozen maps pinned to the walls. (The space used to house the lieutenant governor's staff.)

"I'm the traffic cop, or the executive producer," Gilchrist said.

The cabinet hopes to release clarifying guidelines pertaining to stimulus cash by the end of this week, but Gilchrist said he and his staff are still working out just how the "multiple dozens" of funding pots will work.

Gilchrist said some funding decisions will be decided by officially designated metropolitan planning organizations, others by federal agencies, and others by state agencies. The state legislature would only have input if state agencies are appropriating the money.

Details on the process are not yet set, Gilchrist said. Nor are firm time tables for when municipalities must submit requests or when federal dollars will start to flow. After all, the stimulus bill, Gilchrist noted, waving a printed version for effect, is 1,100 pages long. A Visit to Albany’s Stimulus War Room