US mayors ask for a jump-start from Congress

The US Conference of Mayors is asking for $24.4 billion from Congress to fund "ready-to-go" infrastructure projects — meaning projects that, theoretically, can be started and completed within calendar year 2009. (See the press release here, or the 222-page report here.) According to the mayors’ group, the 4,951 projects would create 256,000 jobs in urban areas.

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Only two Massachusetts cities — Boston and Brockton — submitted projects to be included in the "ready-to-go" list. The most expensive is the "Brockton Area Regional Wastewater Management Project," which is budgeted at $50 million and would create 222 jobs. Next comes a "HUD Allocation to Boston Housing Authority Based on Formula for $2.5 billion for Capital Acceleration for Family and Elderly Housing," which costs $28 million and comes with 20 jobs.

Among the more visible big-ticket items on the wish list: $17 million for "streetscape and pedestrian improvement" to Boston’s Ladder District, between Downtown Crossing and Chinatown (195 jobs!), and $10 million for a cultural arts center in Brockton (50 jobs).

Good luck to Boston and Brockton. But don’t expect any support from the Wall Street Journal.