To: Interested Parties
Fr: White House Communications
Da: April 22, 2009
Re: The Obama-Biden economic plan: creating jobs, strengthening the economy for Connecticut families
Facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, President Obama started his Presidency with decisive action -- proposing and quickly passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Since the bill went into effect, the ARRA has already helped put money back in the pockets of 95 percent of working Americans, created and saved jobs across the country and made key investments in our community to help kickstart the economy. To ensure that the funds are spent efficiently and effectively, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with overseeing the implementation of ARRA, and projects have already begun to come in under budget across the country. As the President prepares to introduce the details of his budget and further plans to revitalize the economy, here’s a look at how his policies have impacted Connecticut in the first three months of his administration.
IMPACT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES ON CONNECTICUT
- Making Work Pay: The President’s tax-cut – which covers more Americans than any in history – is putting more than $700 million back in the pockets of more than 1.3 million hard-working Connecticut families.
- $13,685,624 to support child care for working families.
- $24,522,900 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements.
- $64,310,502 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment.
- $38,542,000 to the State Energy Program, available for rebates to consumers for energy saving improvements; development of renewable energy projects; promotion of Energy Star products; efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings; and other innovative state efforts to help save families money on their energy bills.
- $787,968,109 potentially available to Connecticut to lay the foundation for a generation of education reform and help save thousands of teaching jobs at risk due to state and local budget cuts.
- $3,725,000 to fund 3 new Community Health Centers, which will serve an estimated 17,030 patients and create a projected 125 jobs.
- $3,771,893 to expand services at 12 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 20,143 patients and create or save a projected 68 jobs.
- $1,157,671 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
- $274,618,177 made available in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to protect health care for the families hit hard by the economic crisis and some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
- $2,518,692 in vaccines and grants to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.
- $302,053,956 in highway funds to help build and repair roads and bridges.
- $137,526,347 to repair and build public transportation infrastructure.
- $350,000 to address airport safety and security, infrastructure, runway safety, increased capacity, and mitigation of environmental impacts.
- More than $20.5 for state and local law enforcement assistance available through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. The JAG Program supports a variety of efforts such as hiring and support for law enforcement officers; multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces; crime prevention and domestic violence programs; and courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives.
REAL RESULTS IN CONNECTICUT
Thanks to the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, real impact is already being felt across the state.
Connecticut Governor Said Over $35 Million For Housing Authorities Will Provide Badly Needed Jobs, Rehabilitate Low-Income Housing. "Governor M. Jodi Rell announced today that federal stimulus grants totaling $35,743,555 for local housing authorities have been approved. Gov. Rell's Connecticut Recovery Working Group authorized the grants Monday. "These grants are welcome news ,"Rell said. "They will not only provide badly needed jobs to unemployed residents, but also will enable the authority to move ahead with the rehabilitation of its vacant low-income units and make them available to people on the waiting list for housing sooner than expected. At a time of high unemployment, funding for projects that can get people back to work within the next three months is especially important." The federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires that housing authorities across the country give priority for use of the funds to rehabilitating vacant low-income rental units and capital projects that already are under way or are included in the housing authority's five-year capital fund plan [Danbury News-Times, 3/25/09]
Stimulus Funds For Local Sewer and Wastewater Treatment Facility Upgrades Will Create Jobs And Improve Water Quality In Connecticut. "U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, D-1st District, said Friday that federal stimulus money targeted for local sewer and wastewater treatment facility upgrades — including projects in Stafford and South Windsor — will create jobs and improve water quality statewide. ‘During these difficult economic times, we can restore economic stability and ensure the safety of our citizens and our environment at the same time,’ Larson said of the $48 million investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, announced by the state Department of Environmental Protection last month. ‘With these funds, much-needed jobs are created, while essential clear water improvements, in Hartford and throughout the state, are made to guarantee the water is safe and our environment is protected,’ he added…Of the $48 million in ARRA funds, 25 percent will go for ‘green components,’ Schain said, which include new energy-efficient motors at treatment plants. Wastewater and sewer treatment plants are some of largest consumers of electricity, he added. The department is expected to finalize its priority list in the coming days, Schain said. Amey Marella, deputy commissioner of the DEP, called the investment a ‘perfect use of stimulus funds’ that will ‘make lasting improvements to our state.’ The federal money will help ‘protect the quality of our waters for ourselves and future generations,’ she continued." [Journal-Enquirer, 4/18/09]
Danbury Police Department Applying For $5 Million In Recovery Act Funding To Hire An Additional 15 Officers And Staff a New Civilian Dispatch Center."Police officials hope to get more than $5 million in federal money to beef up the department by adding officers and two new enforcement units. Police Chief Al Baker said the department is in the process of applying for about $5 million in stimulus money being provided through the U.S. Justice Department. He wants to hire an additional 15 officers. The new officers, who would increase the department's ranks by about 10 percent, would be used to create a new traffic enforcement unit and a street crimes unit. A portion of the money would be used to purchase two motorcycles for the traffic unit. Baker said the street crime unit would be about four officers and a sergeant. Their duties would be to address street-level drug dealing, robberies, burglaries and prostitution. ‘This would devote a core unit to address these street crimes,’ he said. ‘It's been part of our strategic plan since 2006.’ Part of the federal money being applied for -- about $1.5 million -- would allow the city to hire civilians to man the dispatch center, freeing an additional three officers per shift to be used on the streets…‘Danbury has been contemplating a civilian dispatch center since 1984,’ Baker said. ‘It's been part of our long-term strategy. To see that happening is very exciting.’ The police chief stressed, however, that the grant application process is competitive and there are no guarantees the department will receive the money." [News Times (Danbury, CT), 4/7/09]
Stimulus Will Fund Workers’ Training to Make Low Income Families’ Homes Energy Efficient Over Next Two Years; Mejia: "Could Be a Heck of a Stimulus for the Inner City -- If It’s Done Right." "A state program that weatherizes the homes of low-income families is about to receive a $65 million injection of federal stimulus money - a 13-fold increase in funding that promises to turn an obscure program into a laboratory on job creation… Over the next 24 to 30 months…, DSS estimates it will weatherize at least 7,500 homes and pay to train a substantial number of energy auditors, job-site supervisors, and entry-level workers… Beaulieu said her department is working with regional workforce development boards and community action agencies such as the Community Renewal Team in Hartford and New Opportunities in Waterbury to see whether, and how fast, training opportunities can be expanded. Lena Rodriguez, president of CRT, said it takes about three weeks to train an entry-level worker… James Gatling, executive director of New Opportunities, said there is a chance here to create lasting economic benefits by putting unemployed people to work and keeping small contractors busy for the next two years… F. Cesar Mejia, executive director of the Minority Construction Council. Inc. in Hartford, said there's another challenge - making sure the money funneled into training programs pays off in trained and competent workers ready to do these jobs … He said he sees great potential in the weatherization program because entry-level workers can be trained quickly. He said he has 25 contractors, among the 140 that are registered with his council, that do weatherization work. ‘This could be a heck of a stimulus for the inner-city - if it's done right,’ said Mejia, who was a contractor for 27 years." [Hartford Courant, 4/14/09]
$1.5 Million In Stimulus Funds Will Be Used To Restore 900 Acres Of Wetlands In The Connecticut River And Will Create 27 Jobs. "About $1.5 million in federal stimulus money will be used to restore 900 acres of degraded wetlands in the lower Connecticut River, Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced Monday. The project, which would help restore tidal wetlands and two acres of barrier beach in Chester, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Old Lyme, Lyme and Old Saybrook…Rell's office announced the project along with three others that will use stimulus funds to improve coastal habitats, protect aquatic species and improve recreational fishing opportunities…The project will begin in mid-July and will create 27 seasonal jobs lasting six months, supply work for three contractors and at least 6,508 hours of employment, according to material submitted by the state Department of Environmental Protection for the federal funding application. The DEP will oversee the work. Besides creating jobs the restoration will improve habitat functions of the entire Connecticut River ecosystem, and improve the area's value for recreational wildlife watching, the DEP said. Wildlife-related activities contribute $62 million into the state economy, according to the DEP. More than 40 wildlife species will benefit from the work, including several that are threatened or endangered." [The Day, 4/14/09]
Recovery Act Funding For Connecticut Will Bring 100 Hybrid Buses, Build and Repave Trails and Bikeway. "Connecticut Will Receive 100 Hybrid BusesRail commuters in Wilton, bicyclists in Manchester and bus riders across Connecticut will all get some direct benefit from nearly $163 million in stimulus aid, state officials said Monday. The bulk of the federal money targeted for mass transit in Connecticut will go to buying more than 100 hybrid buses for CT Transit, upgrading a stretch of Metro North's Danbury branch and building part of a massive train maintenance yard in New Haven, officials decided. And more than $7.5 million will be spent building or repaving bikeways and rails-to-trails projects in Manchester, Southington, Mansfield, Torrington, Stratford and Burlington. "These are some areas where I think we can get good bang for the buck and put people to work," Transportation Commissioner Joseph Marie told the Recovery Working Group at the Capitol." [Hartford Courant, 3/23/09]
New London Area Police Departments Will Receive $600,000 in Stimulus Money; Some of the Money Will Go Toward Hiring Officers. "Area police departments will receive more than $600,000 from the federal stimulus package. The $628,513 administered by the Department of Justice's Edward Byrne Justice Grant Program will strengthen law enforcement efforts, assist in hiring police officers and help with other initiatives that the local law enforcement agencies feel will help them better serve the community. ‘These funds are critical because they accomplish two very significant goals – they make our local communities safer and simultaneously strengthen our region’s economy by creating meaningful new jobs,’ said Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District." [The Day (New London, CT), 3/6/09]
Connecticut Environmental Non-Profit Is Looking to Hire Because the Obama Administration Is Taking Much More of an Interest in Green Issues. "The Center for Environment and Population is looking to hire, particularly part-time workers interested in conservation, environmental advocacy, lobbying and research, said Vicky Markham, director of the Connecticut research and policy nonprofit. ‘From what I saw at the career fair and from the overwhelming number of responses we've received for paid internships and part-time work on issues relating to the environment, energy and climate change, there are many new opportunities and many interested job seekers,’ Markham said. ‘We're adding staff now because for the first time in nearly a decade, the issues we work on and the science-based approach we take are receiving more interest and attention than in the previous U.S. administration,’ Markham said. ‘In other words, now's the time for us to make progress on our set of issues, using our science-based approach, because of the more receptive climate in Washington, and it also filters down to the American public, schools, businesses and so on.’" [Greenwire, 3/23/09]
NewsTimes: "Danbury area to get $9.8 million in stimulus money for mass transit projects:" The Danbury area will receive about $9.8 million from the national stimulus package for transit-related projects, a federal lawmaker announced Thursday. "Transit projects are an excellent investment in Danbury's economic future," said U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5th District. "In the short term, this news will put people back to work. In the long term, fixing aging infrastructure will provide for a more reliable and sustainable transit system." Mayor Mark Boughton said as part of a separate pool of stimulus money, the city will receive a significant share of about $7 million that is being funneled through the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials, the regional transportation planning authority, for roadwork projects. LINK
Ridgefield Press: "Health center founded by Ridgefield doctor gets ARRA grant:" Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) yesterday announced a $1.3 million grant for the Norwalk Community Health Center (NCHC) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. According to NCHC, the grant is expected to enable the center to increase its services to an additional 6,000 patients over the next five years. The money will also allow for an immediate, aggressive expansion of services and help facilitate a much-needed expansion. The center on Water Street was established by Dr. Patrick Neligan of Ridgefield, who still serves on its Board of Directors. LINK