To: Interested Parties
Fr: White House Communications
Da: April 22, 2009
Re: The Obama-Biden economic plan: creating jobs, strengthening the economy for Utah 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 Utah in the first three months of his administration.
IMPACT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES ON UTAH
- Making Work Pay: The President’s tax-cut – which covers more Americans than any in history – is putting more than $500 million back in the pockets of more than 900,000 hard-working Utah families.
- $22,365,594 to support child care for working families.
- $27,777,600 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements.
- $37,897,203 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment.
- $35,362,000 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.
- $400,840,338 potentially available to Utah 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.
- $2,937,742 to expand services at 11 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 14,572 patients and create or save a projected 31 jobs.
- $575,747 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
- $53,362,783 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.
- $2,231,180 in vaccines and grants to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.
- $213,545,653 in highway funds to help build and repair roads and bridges.
- $58,084,648 to repair and build public transportation infrastructure.
- $13,070,924 to address airport safety and security, infrastructure, runway safety, increased capacity, and mitigation of environmental impacts.
- More than $16.2 million 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 UTAH
Thanks to the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, real impact is already being felt across the state.
Ogden-Based Concrete Company Started Work on First UT Road Project Funded by ARRA; Some Workers Who Were Laid Off Have Been Called Back to Work."An Ogden-based concrete company has started work on the first Utah road project being funded by federal government stimulus money. The Utah Department of Transportation awarded Multiple Concrete Enterprises Inc. a $769,609 contract for roadwork at the Knudsen's Corner area of I-215 near Holladay. The company, which submitted the lowest bid for the project, began on April 8 to rehabilitate the pavement on both sides of the freeway from roughly 2000 East to 5400 South, said UDOT spokesman Adan Carrillo…The project will result in ‘restoration that will extend the life of these pavements up to 20 years,’ said Var Stephens, owner of Multiple Concrete Enterprises. Lately, Stephens has had to send crews to surrounding states for projects. He said he's happy to have a local project, with employees who will spend the money locally. Fifteen employees, plus some subcontractors, are working on the job, which will last through the end of May. About half of the employees are full-time. The other half are seasonal and were called back after being laid off for the winter, Stephens said…Issac Heathcote of Ogden was one of the laid-off Multiple Concrete Enterprises employees called back to work. During the winter, Heathcote sells electronics to support his wife and three children, ages 5-9. He says most seasonal concrete construction workers have side jobs to make ends meet. ‘Without that stimulus money, there might have been a hold on the work this year because of the economy,’ Heathcote said." [Desert News (UT), 4/14/09]
Economic Stimulus Will Accelerate Cleanup of Uranium Mill Tailings in Moab, Create 150 Additional Jobs. "The federal government will provide $108 million from the economic stimulus package to push ahead more quickly with the cleanup of uranium mill tailings from Moab, Utah. The new spending will more than double the number of employees from 125 to at least 275, officials with the U.S. Department of Energy said. The cleanup is scheduled to begin April 20 and is estimated to cost about $1 billion, which will be paid by the Department of Energy… The additional funding for the mill-tailings pile will enable the Energy Department to begin with a seven-day-a-week schedule for removing the pile instead of four days a week, which had been planned.The additional money also will enable the cleanup to use more rail cars this fall. The cleanup will begin with a 22-car train that by this fall will become a 34-car train. Each car will carry four containers filled with mill tailings." [Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, 3/31/09]
Stimulus Funds for Community Health Centers Will Create or Save 31 Jobs in Utah. "Community health centers in Utah are receiving $2.9 million in federal stimulus funds, a boost that will help the struggling centers see more patients. Utah's centers, which offer low-cost care to low-income patients, have seen increased demand with the economy's downturn, and some have been forced to turn patients away. The federal funds will allow 11 centers statewide to provide care to an additional 14,572 patients over the next two years, many of them uninsured, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates. The centers also will create or retain approximately 31 jobs. The federally qualified health centers treat a mix of patients, but must provide services on a sliding fee basis to people who live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level." [Salt Lake Tribune, 3/27/09]
Stimulus Funds Will Repay Junction City for Building Nursing Home for 120 Veterans. "It's been a good spring for the future veterans nursing home in Junction City. The vets home is being built and Ogden will see it completed by Veterans Day, Nov. 11. The need for a vets nursing home in Utah is so great -- the Salt Lake nursing home has a two-year wait -- that the Utah Legislature fast-tracked the $20 million project by paying all the funds. This was because it had seemed that the feds would take years to pony up its $12.5 million share of the nursing home. At the time, Utah legislators feared that it would take several years to be paid back by the Veterans Administration. But then came the stimulus package. The VA's nursing home construction program suddenly found itself with $150 million to spend, and the Weber County vets nursing home became a high priority. In short, the feds expect to pay Utah either this year, or 2010. Terry Schow, executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, hopes the additional funds generated by the stimulus will lead to other vets nursing homes in Utah County and St. George… We are fortunate to have a nursing home in Ogden. The 120-bed facility was earned after a long, hard fight… The Utah Department of Veterans Affairs is still working to raise funds to adequately furnish the vets home. Because the nursing home will have four pods instead of one large unit, there's more space that needs to be filled. So far, about $15,000 has been raised. Dennis McFall, deputy director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, said he hopes that as much as $150,000 can be raised. Weber Commission Chairman Craig Dearden said recently that the Weber nursing home would receive money raised from the county golf tournament." [(Ogden UT) Standard-Examiner, 4/15/09]
Stimulus Funds Will Allow 11 Utah Health Centers to Care For An Additional 14,572 Patients Over The Next Two Years. Community health centers in Utah are receiving $2.9 million in federal stimulus funds, a boost that will help the struggling centers see more patients. Utah's centers, which offer low-cost care to low-income patients, have seen increased demand with the economy's downturn, and some have been forced to turn patients away. The federal funds will allow 11 centers statewide to provide care to an additional 14,572 patients over the next two years, many of them uninsured, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates. The centers also will create or retain approximately 31 jobs. The federally qualified health centers treat a mix of patients, but must provide services on a sliding fee basis to people who live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Nationally, centers are receiving $338 million. The funds, provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, come as more Americans join the ranks of the uninsured. ‘More Americans are losing their health insurance and turning to health centers for care,’ said Mary Wakefield, Health Resources and Services administrator, said in a statement. ‘These grants will aid centers in their efforts to provide care to an increasing number of patients during the economic downturn.’" [Salt Lake Tribune, 3/27/09]
Stimulus Funds Will Cover Costs Of Repaving St. George’s Main Road. "Major Main Street project news broke at the Parowan city council meeting Thursday night as city manager Joe Melling revealed the Utah Department of Transportation has agreed to cover several extra costs in repaving the city's tarnished main road. Melling said the total amount UDOT plans to contribute is around $6 million, coming from funds available through the federal stimulus package. UDOT representatives told Melling it is covering new curb construction as well as handicap ramps, a $1.5 million project in itself, among other costs beyond repavement. ‘And they want to get that all under contract in the next 90 to 120 days,’ Melling noted. Discussion during Thursday night's meeting centered around several other progressive projects the city wants to examine, including a new sewer line, home mail delivery, a city solid waste system with recycling and a city complex. A sewer line along 2200 North and running through other parts of town would allow sewer service around the airport area, Melling said, adding that this project also comes from stimulus money available from the state." [The Spectrum, 3/27/09]
Two Utah Superfund Sites Will Receive $30 Million In Stimulus Money To Accelerate Cleanup. "Two Superfund sites in Utah will receive $30 million in federal stimulus money from the Environmental Protection Agency to accelerate cleanup efforts. The announcement of $600 million in new funding was made Wednesday morning by the agency, which detailed sites in 28 states targeted for the money. About $5 million will go to the Bountiful/Woods Cross 500 South PCE plume in Davis County, which was named to the agency's National Priorities List in 2001 because of groundwater contaminants that pose a public health risk at the 400-acre site. PCE — or tetrachloroethylene — is a chemical that was commonly used in dry-cleaning operations and can cause dizziness, headaches, sleepiness and nausea. In high concentrations it can cause death if exposure happens in poorly ventilated areas. Michael Storck, the state project manager with the Department of Environmental Quality, said recent quarterly monitoring of the groundwater showed PCE levels at 60 parts per billion in contrast to federal standards of 5 parts per billion. The contamination is at the 130 feet level of the aquifer and affects domestic wells used for agricultural purposes, Storck said. The money will pay for installation of additional ground water extraction wells, monitoring wells and the construction of a water treatment system. An estimated $25 million will, in part, cap three large mine waste sites at the 680-acre Eureka Mills site in Juab County's East Tintic mountains. Listed since 2002, the site poses a public health risk because of heaving mining in the area that left lead contaminants in waste rock. The EPA says the money will also go for the clean up of approximately 160 residences where there are lead-contaminated soils." [Deseret News, 4/16/09]
Stimulus Funds Will Help Accelerate Removal Of Uranium Near Moab That Threatens To Contaminate Colorado River. "The Obama administration decided Tuesday to use a big chunk of the economic stimulus package to accelerate removal of the Atlas uranium mill tailings near Moab, which have threatened to leach radioactive waste into the Colorado River. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that of the $6 billion that the stimulus package gave the Energy Department to accelerate environmental cleanup work, he is allocating $108 million to the Moab project. That had Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, almost shouting for joy. He has fought the Energy Department under previous leadership for years to accelerate the project and was told as late as a month ago that it might not be completed for another 20 years because of lack of funds. Such lack of funds is apparently no longer a problem for now." [Deseret News, 3/31/09]
Utah Using Stimulus Funds to Encourage Home Buyers. "Now, there is the Home Run Grant to help 1,666 Utahns buy their first home. Here is basically how it works. A total of $10 million is set aside for those who qualify to receive the $6000 grant. Income is the key. $75,000 income for an individual or $150,000 for a couple. You can also combine the 6 grand with the $8000 first time home buyer tax credit. Contractors are hoping that this program will ‘clear the deck’ and get rid of all those new homes just sitting there. Once they sell, they all housing prices will rise again and that will help everyone in the mortgage business, too." [ABC News Channel 4, 3/23/09]
Utah Using Stimulus Funds to Give First Time Home Buyers Incentive to Buy. "Utah Governor Jon Huntsman today signed Senate Bill 260, Housing Relief Restricted Special Revenue Fund. Upon his signature, he immediately directed the Utah Housing Corporation to begin dispersing 1,600 $6,000 grants to homebuyers purchasing a newly constructed home. With more than 3,000 unsold newly built homes available and 18,000 Utah construction workers who lost jobs last year, this program is intended to directly deal with the most distressed area of our economy. ‘It is up to the states to use the federal stimulus money in a way that truly has a beneficial impact on our economy. This is an immediate stimulus targeted at the weakest area of Utah's economy,’ Governor Jon Huntsman said. ‘This investment of $10 million will result in 8,800 jobs in the market and $324 million in wages into our economy. This boost is critical for us to reverse our current position.’" [Governor’s Office Release, 3/19/09]
Utah Using Stimulus Funds to Prevent Foreclosure. "Governor Huntsman is directing $1.8 million of discretionary federal stimulus money to provide foreclosure prevention and mitigation services through the Department of Community and Culture. Currently in our state, 15,000 homes are in foreclosure, doubling since 2007. The funds will be dedicated to prevention efforts through training and counselors. The Home Run Program will be administered by the Utah Housing Corporation." [Governor’s Office Release, 3/19/09]
UDOT Executive Director: Stimulus Funds Will Create 6,000 Jobs. "Utah Department of Transportation officials say they have already obligated $95.5 million of the nearly $150 million in federal stimulus funds the agency is receiving for road construction… UDOT has obligated more than half of the money in two weeks, 15 weeks ahead of schedule. In total, Utah will have 56 road projects funded by the federal stimulus money… UDOT Executive Director John Njord has estimated the stimulus money for UDOT projects, combined with money for city and county construction projects, will create 6,000 jobs. UDOT is getting $149.5 million of the $213 million in stimulus money being spent on transportation projects in Utah. The rest will go to regional transportation planning groups such as the Wasatch Front Regional Council, which is the largest regional planning organization for roads and represents 60 percent of the states population." [The Seattle Times, 3/18/09]
Southern Utah University Pres. Praised Budget Appropriations for Education. "With the passage this week of the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, the Omnibus Conference Report reveals that Southern Utah University, and specifically its proposed Gibson Science Center, has garnered federal support in the amount of $476,000. $95,000 of this funding will be invested in a rural science teaching program, with the remainder helping to construct and equip the Gibson Science Center. Stated SUU President Michael Benson, ‘…The only way to move up the priority list… was to secure non-state funding in the form of private gifts and federal support. That Senators Bennett and Hatch have been successful in helping us do so is a real credit to them and to their belief in what we are doing in our College of Science.’ This funding is completely separate from any federal stimulus money that may come to SUU, observes SUU Vice President for Government Relations and Regional Services Wes Curtis. ‘While the University is still waiting to see if any of the so-called State Stabilization Fund comes to Cedar City, this news today out of Washington, D.C., is very good for us and for this project,’ stated Curtis. The federal funds, coupled with a $3 million commitment - the largest gift ever to a capital project in SUU's 110-year history - from Dr. Walter Gibson of Albany, New York, have helped position the science center project on the recommended bond list issued 10 days ago by the Capital Facilities Subcommittee of the Utah State Legislature." [Main Street Business Journal, 3/2/09 – 3/8/09]