ALBANY—One of the state's legislative leaders is calling for more involvement by his members in the distribution of money from the federal stimulus.
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith said he and fellow senators will undergo trainings on the dense stimulus bill this week "to drill it down" and determine what potential sources of funding there are. David Paterson appointed Tim Gilchrist to lead a group overseeing how the money will be spent on infrastructure, but the exact process for choosing projects hasn't yet been set.
"I think the role there is different," Smith said to reporters after a speech before the conference of mayors at a downtown hotel. "Every Senate member and every Assembly member, clearly, is very close to their district. So they should have some input with regards to how the money is spent in terms of where it goes to. But you have to put it in perspective. Like Washington—look at what the president did. It can't go for political projects just to get someone re-elected. It has to go for projects that are really going to create jobs, and that's going to stimulate the economy."
David Paterson's press shop just announced that $41 million will be spent on 14 projects around the state. Read the release to the end to sample some of the 30 quotes from elected officials—including Smith—from around the state praising the initial outflow.