I hate that we needed a stimulus. It would have been cheaper and more effective to keep our infrastructure current over the last 20 years.
I hate the way the stimulus was legislated as one big bill. I think smaller, more specific and directed bills would have been more effective and less political.
I hate the oversimplification and hyperbole that infects the narratives concerning the stimulus. "Money from our kids and grandkids" being the most obnoxious. (Act like a deficit hawk or fiscal conservative before the other party is elected to power and I'll extend you more credibility.) "Forced to spend this money because of the recession" is the best the other side offers, and it is weak sauce.
All that being said, Federal stimulus grants to build more streetcar lines in NOLA - $45 million in said grants - is the kind of thing the stimulus was supposed to do. I also know (though this is rarely publicized) that many stimulus dollars have gone into modernizing emergency response systems and tools.
These are not projects that recession kneecapped states and localities can do for themselves. They are not projects that many private enterprises could capitalize or invest in.
They ARE, however, projects that states, localities and private enterprise will benefit from. It all adds up to good investment, and I am glad to see it happen.
UPDATE: Sorry to hear that Atlanta missed out on their own TIGER grant for a Peachtree Street Streetcar line. I don't think this has a lot to do with politics, either, as the ATL Streetcar would go through John Lewis' district, and plenty of "red state" areas got cash. No, with Atlanta this has to do with them asking for nearly 3 times the amount of the highest award recipient, and putting exactly zero local dollars into the project. The lack of local and state credibility on alternative transportation models does not help Peachtree's grant application, either.
That is government competency - funding projects with local support that will put the developments in many areas where the projects have the highest chance of completion and local impact.