*Updated 9:51 p.m.: The Los Angeles Times follows the Star-News story and finds that MTA officials suddenly aren't so comfortable with nature of some of the deals:
Officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is responsible for distributing federal highway and transit stimulus funds to agencies in Los Angeles County, said they had no objection to this kind of exchange provided the projects that are to receive stimulus funds meet the federal criteria.**Updated March 11, 7:11 a.m.: The Star-News had a folo of its own. Apparently MTA staff just didn't understand what the MTA board wanted - and neither did the cities, where officials that had completed deals are freaking out. The MTA now says the deals are strictly limited to a dollar-for-dollar exchange of federal stimulus money for future allocations of county Measure R transportation funds.
But officials sent a letter to city managers and others Tuesday saying that efforts by more municipalities to take the bartering process a step further will not be allowed.