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  Public Information Release
This is another news release from the Port Authority.


March 9, 2009

Public-Private Partnership Formed to Advocate for Licking County Federal Stimulus Projects

A group of local officials and community leaders came together recently to determine a strategy for helping Licking County maximize the possible impact from the federal stimulus package. A 21-member Licking County Economic Stimulus Task Force was launched with seven public representatives, including officials from the county’s three largest cities and representatives of villages and townships. Fourteen representatives from the private sector, including the Chamber of Commerce and Licking County’s largest employers, round out the Task Force membership.

“This is an advocacy effort,” said Rick Platt, President and CEO of the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority who organized and hosted the first meeting. “Over 300 stimulus projects in the tens of millions of dollars are being asked for by Licking County organizations. However, regrettably, we all know that only a small few, if any, will get funded. We need a short list and unified support behind it in hopes of maximizing the best possible impact for our county.”

The Task Force has no power to make funding decisions, but it’s hoped that a unified advocacy approach will improve both the level of funding and the quality of projects being funded.

The Licking County Commissioners formally joined the Licking County Economic Stimulus Task Force at their regular meeting today. County Commissioner Tim Bubb commented, “Without this coordinated effort to identify and evaluate possible projects, it is possible that decisions made outside of the community and without local input may be less than desirable projects in terms of the greater good.” Bubb added, “The Board of County Commissioners believe that a unified effort to present and advocate for a prioritized short list of projects represents the best opportunity to ‘spend the money wisely’, which was the direction by President Obama to the states.”

The Licking County Chamber of Commerce is expected to take similar action.

At its first meeting, the Task Force adopted criteria for ranking projects. Jobs impact, economic impact, and long-term value were considered among the most important factors for projects to be advocated for by the Task Force members. After developing a prioritized list of stimulus projects using an objective selection process, the Task Force will aim to communicate its priorities with decision makers at the state and federal levels.

The Task Force will meet again Tuesday, March 10 at 8:30 a.m. at the County Administration Building to review the prioritization of highway projects.

A website,, has been established to communicate the progress of the Task Force and help ensure a transparent, open approach.

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