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Missouri lawmakers shut Kansas City out for federal stimulus funds

JEFFERSON CITY — As the 2009 session of the General Assembly grinds to an end today, one mind-boggling question hangs over Kansas City's delegation:

Why did the city get virtually shut out when it came to the money grab for hundreds of millions in federal stimulus dollars? In one bill alone that passed last week, legislators doled out $381.3 million in stimulus money.

Kansas City's take: zip.

"I just didn't hear any of Kansas City's interests articulated," said Rep. Chris Kelly, a Columbia Democrat. "If they needed something, somebody should have said something."

The St. Louis area, meanwhile, made off with $12 million for mass transit, $9.3 million for a mental health facility, $750,000 for a prisoner re-entry initiative, and $500,000 for a high school dropout program.

To be sure, Independence got $500,000 for renovating Harry Truman's old courthouse. But that's in Independence.

And a significant amount — $25 million — is slated to go to Kokam America, the builder of batteries for electric-powered vehicles. The company is planning new, 900-employee production facilities. But that’s in Lee's Summit.

"That's not Kansas City," Sen. Yvonne Wilson, a Kansas City Democrat and budget committee member, said in a heated exchange on the Senate floor last week.

To read the complete article, visit www.kansascity.com.

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