Historical Reviews Slowing Stimulus: Chick

Remember that load of federal stimulus money California received? Laura Chick does.

As the state's inspector general, she's charged with watching over the money California received from the federal government. She  sent a letter Monday to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asking that more staff be made available to speed the review process.

Chick said a backlog in historical reviews is delaying construction projects. The state Office of Historic Preservation has a two-month backlog for approving new buildings, expansions and retrofits funded with stimulus money.

Chick said the backlog will grow because most of the infrastructure money is just starting to flow.

Chick recommended that the governor modify his furlough order for historians, archaeologists and other key personnel. She said he also could transfer workers from elsewhere or temporarily hire retired state workers.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes more than 1,600 projects in Los Angeles County. That's about $4.2 billion worth of projects funded through the stimulus.

California is expected to receive more than $50 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Of that, more than $12 billion is dedicated to transportation, energy, water and housing projects. This map shows how that money will be used.

The state Office of Historic Preservation, an entity of the National Park Service that is an administrative unit of the state Department of Parks and Recreation, is just one of many agencies that must sign off on construction projects before they can begin.

For example, if an alternative energy company is proposing a solar project, the office must make sure the land does not include Native-American artifacts. Similarly, modifying a building that is a registered historic landmark cannot undermine its architecturally significant features.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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