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MuniNet Medley: 1/5/12 - Golden Gate Bridge, Chicago Shovels, Job Concerns, East Orange Recovery

January 5, 2012 · Print · Email

... Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began 79 years ago today - on January 5, 1933 - with the bridge opening to traffic on May 28, 1937.  If it were to be built today, construction would cost approximately $1.2 billion dollars (in 2003 dollars), according to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District, which maintains and manages the iconic bridge connecting the City of San Francisco and Marin County.  In its first fiscal year of operations (1937-1938), 3.3 million vehicles traversed the bridge, bringing in $1,594,958 in toll revenues.  Last fiscal year (2010-2011), 40.2 million vehicles crossed the bridge, raising $100,779,715 in toll revenues...

...... Chicago gears up for that dreaded four-letter word - s-n-o-w - with a pretty cool new website.  ChicagoShovels includes a real-time plow-tracker, eliminating the need for impatient toe-tapping while looking out the living room window wondering “where IS that plow?” The site also encourages civic involvement; residents can use an upcoming feature on the website to adopt a city sidewalk to shovel.  They can also help a neighbor through the site’s Snow Corps feature, which matches volunteers with seniors and residents with disabilities who need assistance with snow removal....

... “Lack of job opportunities” was cited as the top challenge facing low- and moderate-income communities, according to the quarterly New England Community Outlook Survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  Job concerns were cited by 69 percent of the respondents, followed by “state and local budget cuts” (42 percent) and “federal budget cuts” (38 percent).  Further down the list were education, foreclosure, homelessness, and small business loans.  Survey respondents work with organizations that provide services to low and moderate income families, who are asked for their perceptions of service needs and economic challenges....   

...New Englanders are not alone in their concerns about jobs and the economy.  The Pew Research Center’s Daily Number reports that 79 percent of the public feels that jobs are difficult to find, compared to 48 percent in 2007...

...Cost-cutting measures in East Orange, New Jersey have apparently paid off.  State oversight of the city’s finances, which was to have lasted for a two-year period, has been lifted early.   The oversight began in December 2010 when it accepted $2.85 million in emergency state grants under the Transitional Aid Program, according to NJ.com.  The oversight was lifted early because the grant comprised such a small percentage of the city’s budget - and because the city’s finances have improved.  The city cut its expenses by laying off 16 employees.  City personnel also took unpaid furlough days and deferred paychecks in order to cover the budget gap.  For a list of current Transitional Aid program applicants, click here.


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