Billions are being pumped into government bailouts and stimulus packages in hopes of righting the economy. Many people — Democrats and Republicans — are asking questions about what the real return will be for future generations who will be saddled with this massive debt.
In the Quad-Cities, we hope the impact will be very visible.
Millions have already been announced for various road, airport and law enforcement programs in the area. But stimulus money also should help move forward a few high-profile projects whose effects will help shape the region's future.
Major projects that should come to fruition much quicker because of stimulus funding support include:
n Davenport's $56 million west side sewer diversion tunnel.  Mayor Bill Gluba says the project would open up 20 square miles of Davenport for growth, improve water quality and reduce sewer overflows. It also would create 305 construction jobs and could lead to as many as 7,500 permanent jobs from new businesses and industries that could locate in northwest Davenport, according to the mayor. In addition to stimulus money, city leaders are hoping to get some funding through Gov. Chet Culver's proposed I-JOBS initiative, which would fund millions of dollars worth of road, bridge, sewer and other projects across the state through revenue bonds.
n Passenger rail service to the Quad-Cities. U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., has said a $485,000 down payment to get rail service rolling to the Quad-Cities should be on the way soon from the federal government. An Amtrak feasibility study estimated the Quad-City-to-Chicago link would cost $23 million for infrastructure upgrades. Another $32.5 million is needed to upgrade tracks, signals and ties from the Quad-Cities to Iowa City. Local leaders are encouraged by President Barack Obama's goal to increase passenger rail and are optimistic stimulus money will be available for the Q-C projects.
n Arsenal Island investments and improvements. The ongoing Base Realignment and Closure Commission, or BRAC, decisions are reason for concern for military installations, so investments in Arsenal Island give another reason for long-term security. Recently, Joel Himsl, garrison manager at the Arsenal, said the island could get $18 million in stimulus funds for the base's construction projects, especially those focusing on energy conservation, transportation and infrastructure. The Arsenal has identified $144 million in backlogged maintenance projects. Those include replacing roofs on some of the historic buildings on the island, creating additional housing and repairing the Moline bridge leading to the island.
Taxpayers and legislators definitely should scrutinize how our money is being spent. But we believe any investments in these major Q-C projects will be money well spent. And they will leave a legacy for the betterment of the region and for those who ultimately have to pay the bills.