Recovery in Action: "Beginning to Percolate Nationwide"
This morning, having made progress on an international response to the financial crisis in Europe, the President met with Treasury Secretary Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, SEC Chair Mary Shapiro and Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan to start working on next steps here at home.
Meanwhile, the Recovery Act continues to pick up steam…
"Building repairs are underway on public housing in Imboden, Ark., and Cumberland, Ill., states across the country are receiving money to weatherize the homes of low-income residents, and the Silver Star Construction Co. is about to start work on two road-resurfacing projects in south-central Oklahoma with a total cost of $12 million. ‘We were thrilled to get some work,’ said Steve Shawn, president of the company. ‘Some of the work had started slowing down from the economy. The new work came in just around the right time.’ Slowly but surely, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- better known as the economic stimulus package -- is beginning to percolate nationwide, six weeks after President Obama signed the legislation."
"Stephen Lieber, president and CEO of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, looked tired but sounded pleased with the outcome of the trade association’s annual convention in Chicago… Offsetting the economy was the American Recovery and Reconciliation Act of 2009, signed into law by President Barack Obama in February, which by some estimates contains as much as $35 billion in federal dollars directed toward healthcare information technology spending. ‘We had more provider organizations represented here than we’ve ever had,’ Lieber said. ‘What else could you attribute it to? It’s the stimulus… They (providers) knew they had to pick up whatever intelligence they could this week.’ And that understanding of what the stimulus act held in store for them came not just from the educational sessions—government officials were somewhat limited in what they could say, since Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary nominee, has not yet passed through Senate vetting and been sworn in—but by ‘sitting across the coffee table’ at breaks during the show, exchanging ideas and information with IT industry peers, Lieber said."
"The Denver area will have at least 38 active road construction projects this summer totaling $234.4 million, 14 of which are being paid for with federal stimulus money, the Colorado Department of Transportation said Wednesday. "With the funds we are receiving from [the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act], we will now be able to have a construction season similar to those of recent years," CDOT Executive Director Russell George said in a statement. "We will be able to resurface roadways, replace poor bridges and improve safety all across the Denver metro area."
"Kansas will get $18.4 million for child care and disease prevention for children, and $2.1 million for children’s vaccines, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site. Nationwide, $2 billion in stimulus money for the Child Care and Development Fund will help states support child-care services for working families, those seeking employment or those receiving job training or education."
"Lieutenant Governor John D. Cherry, Jr. today announced that 67 communities in 27 Michigan counties will benefit from a total of $47.3 million in transportation enhancement (TE) funding. This total includes 22 projects funded through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). The funding will complete 176 miles of bike paths and paved shoulders; enhance local roadways in communities statewide with lighting, landscaping, sidewalks, crosswalks and other improvements; preserve a historic bridge and two historic rail facilities. The projects are planned for the 2009 and 2010 construction seasons and will create or retain more than 1,300 jobs. ‘This is a positive step for Michigan’s economy,’ said Cherry. ‘These enhancement projects will create jobs and improve communities so they are more attractive to residents, businesses and visitors.’"
"Within a couple of years, Kansas City could become a green model for turning around some of its poorest neighborhoods, officials said Thursday. Up to $200 million in federal stimulus money will weatherize every home that needs it in a 150-block area, upgrade bus services and provide much more help, they said. ‘I’m so excited, I'm trying to calm down,’ said U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Kansas City Democrat who came up with the idea for a Green Impact Zone. ‘This is a perfect storm of opportunity.’ Kansas City is taking the lead in the nation by funneling as much stimulus money as possible over two years into rebuilding one area of the city, Cleaver said. Local, state and federal governments have agreed to work together on the plan. ‘The key is we are investing federal money wisely and building an inclusive green economy strong enough to create jobs for residents,’ said Cleaver, who met with more than 50 neighborhood and community leaders Thursday."
"Over the next three years, New Hampshire will receive more than $23 million in federal stimulus money designed to create jobs and increase energy conservation by funding a major boost in home weatherization projects. The program is one piece of the job creation puzzle presented by the more than $900 million targeted for New Hampshire through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress in February…’This is great, exciting stuff,’ said Charlie Wolfe, weatherization manger for the Dover-based Strafford County Community Action Committee. ‘We’ve talked before what we could do if we had more money, and now we will have a chance to make a big difference.’ According to the Department of Energy, the low- and moderate-income participants in the Weatherization Assistance Program on average see a 32 percent reduction in heating bills – cutting a $2,000 annual heating bill, for example, to about $1,400."
"The state of New Mexico has awarded contracts for four highway reconstruction projects to be funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Gov. Bill Richardson said this week. Construction on the projects, worth a total of nearly $50 million, is scheduled to start within 30 days. Among the projects is U.S. 491, the main north-south thoroughfare through the New Mexico portion of the Navajo Nation. The highway, which has earned a variety of notorious nicknames, is among the most dangerous in the United States. Construction began on the road formerly called U.S. 666, or the ‘Highway to Hell,’ almost a year ago. The ground-breaking ceremony occurred last May, signaling a $100 million collaboration between the state and the Navajo Nation to widen the two-lane corridor to four lanes. The agreement came after a nearly four-year struggle over rights-of-way and state funding. A compromise calling for the Nation to contribute $10 million in cash and in-kind donations was reached in January 2008, just months before construction began. Stimulus money, however, will not be used for the widening project. The state Department of Transportation awarded $8.9 million for rehabilitation of a portion of the two-lane highway, spokesman S.U. Mahesh said."
"The 1,776 jobs expected to be created by the federal stimulus money earmarked for roads and bridges in the Rochester region give this spending package a patriotic ring. But in announcing the job-creation number in Canandaigua on Thursday, Gov. David Paterson noted that the projects must meet federal standards…To date, Paterson has certified projects for about $24 million of the $74 million that the seven-county region is scheduled to receive. The funds are slated to go to 115 projects."
"Take, for instance, what Oregon's Housing and Community Services Department needs to do to secure its $82 million. It has already applied for $38 million to weatherize low-income residents' homes, and just received the first 10 percent of that, but still needs approval from the state legislature to spend it. It is awaiting guidelines for applying for $27 million in tax credits for affordable housing development. It just received the guidelines for applying for $8 million to help prevent homelessness, and expects that it will not spend that money before July. And Oregon will not apply until July for ‘neighborhood stabilization’ funding that will be distributed on a competitive basis for states to renovate or demolish abandoned homes. In fact, it is still getting ready to spend $19.6 million that it received for a similar purpose from a housing recovery bill President George W. Bush signed in late July. It is a lot of hoops to jump through, but officials say it is worth it. ‘This is a huge investment for us,’ said Rick Crager, Oregon's deputy housing director. The process ‘is not an issue for us. It's important that we're accountable.’"
"U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett today announced that $2.4 million in federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be used for flood control projects along Plum Creek in Hays County. ‘Upgrading flood control along Plum Creek will protect people and property along the rapidly growing Kyle-Buda corridor,’ said Rep. Doggett, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and House Budget Committee. ‘This recovery funding will create jobs, promote future construction in Hays County, and reduce the danger from any future flooding.’"
"United States Senators Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., along with Congressman Nick Rahall, W.Va.-3, today announced that West Virginia is slated to receive more than $1,643,000 in federal funding as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The monies will be distributed through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of a $197 million spending program across the country… The funds will be used for overseeing the assessment and cleanup of leaks from underground storage tanks or directly paying for assessment and cleanup of leaks from federally regulated tanks where the responsible party is unknown, unwilling, unable, or the clean up is an emergency response. ‘Many West Virginia families rely on groundwater as a source of their safe drinking water,’ said Byrd. ‘This funding will help to eliminate the backlog of more than 950 underground tank clean-up projects in West Virginia. And through this funding we will both create jobs and improve the health and safety of West Virginia communities.’ ‘The protection of West Virginia's drinking water is essential. West Virginia families should be able to trust that the water coming from their faucet is safe," said Senator Rockefeller."
"A Teton County pathway project will receive $300,000 to complete a route from Jackson to the Gros Ventre River in Grand Teton National Park. On Thursday, the Wyoming Department of Transportation Commission approved $300,000 of federal economic stimulus money for the first phase of the pathway along Highway 89 north of Jackson. Tim Young, director of Friends of Pathways, said the stimulus money likely will provide the final funding needed to finish the path. Teton County has won competitive federal grants totaling $3 million, but Young said that money was just shy of what it will take to finish the project. ‘This stimulus funding helps bridge the gap,’ he said."