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News About the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan

Courier-Journal (Kentucky) -- Stimulus funds help save highway jobs

The federal stimulus bill is paying for the $3.7 million bypass from U.S. 68 to Industrial Drive -- one of the first three 'shovel ready' projects Kentucky has awarded with the federal money approved in February.

'If it wasn't for the stimulus money, we probably wouldn't be back to work,' said Curtis Moss, 27, a scraper driver for Haydon Brothers Contractors, a subcontractor on the project. Moss had been laid off from Haydon last fall. Building and repairing roads are a key part of the stimulus bill, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which aims to create or preserve 3.5 million jobs nationally over the next two years, including 48,000 in Kentucky.

...overall, Kentucky's share of the stimulus money, along with recently approved state bonds and existing road funds, could mean as much as $1 billion worth of projects will be awarded to contractors this year, said Charles Lovorn, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Highway Contractors. Federal estimates suggest that could directly lead to more than 11,400 construction jobs, he said.

Other work totaling $17.2 million across Louisville -- including new sidewalks, street resurfacing and curb replacements -- is also being funded by the stimulus. Ted Pullen, the city's public works director, said he's hopeful that the projects will receive state and federal approval in time for contractors to start bidding on work this summer.[5/31/09]

Bangor Daily News (Maine) -- Laid-off Mainers may benefit from expanded recovery benefits

More than a thousand Mainers who have been laid off from 21 companies from South Portland to Baileyville to Ashland because of unfair trade practices are poised to receive expanded benefits under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Under the revised Recovery Act, laid-off workers now can get up to 130 weeks of cash payments if enrolled in full-time training, enhanced job search and relocation payments, and a tax credit that covers 80 percent of their health insurance cost.

In addition to the benefits improvement, eligibility has also been expanded. It now covers more workers affected by unfair trade subsidies and practices. For example, companies that provide services such as call center and bookkeeping services are now covered. The expanded eligibility also includes companies that supply and provide services to companies that have had their workers certified for coverage. Workers at companies that shift production to any foreign country are also eligible for the program now.

Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, said the program has been a major help to laid-off workers across the state, even though it has been more difficult to get petitions approved over the last several years of the Bush administration. He said that while petitions were discouraged under Bush, they are welcomed under President Obama's administration.[6/01/09]

Traverse City Record-Eagle (Michigan) --Area transit systems to get stimulus funds

The Benzie Transportation Authority and the Bay Area Transportation Authority stand to receive nearly $2 million collectively in federal stimulus dollars to buy new buses and create a transit facility near Honor...The Benzie Transportation Authority, also known as Benzie Bus, will receive $690,000 for six new buses and $607,000 to create a new headquarters and bus garage from an existing building.

Statewide, $13.2 million in funding for rural transit agencies and rural intercity bus services are available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The requests will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration for approval. This wave of federal money represents the first part of about $25 million for Michigan's rural passenger transportation system. Transit agencies in urban areas, such as Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing and others, will receive about $108 million and also will submit applications to the Federal Transit Administration.[6/01/09]

The Rocky Mount Telegram (North Carolina) -- Stimulus Cash to help roads, crime victims

A number of projects using federal stimulus money are coming to the Twin Counties, Gov. Bev Perdue announced this weekend...“These projects will help create and sustain thousands of jobs and provide needed economic development in counties throughout North Carolina,” Perdue said in a statement. “They will improve critical routes to help better connect North Carolinians around the state.” Every $1 million spent on transportation creates 30 jobs, and every dollar invested in transportation generates $6 in economic impact, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Perdue also announced that part of $62 million in grants from the Governor's Crime Commission will be given to agencies in the Twin Counties to improve community safety and assist crime victims. Half of this year's funding is from the stimulus package. The money will help efforts to stop gangs, fight juvenile delinquency, assist victims of domestic violence and provide updated equipment for law enforcement agencies.[5/31/09]

Del Rio News-Herald (Texas) -- Congressman announces local stimulus

Congressman Ciro Rodriguez made a special trip to Del Rio Friday to announce local entities would receive more than $14 million in stimulus funding. The city will receive $27,000 for enhanced police equipment through a Justice Department grant and the Department of Energy is allocating $156,300 to the city for energy efficiency and conservation projects.

More than $3 million is slated to go to the Texas Department of Transportation for road repairs on U.S. Highway 90 east of Del Rio. A roadway that needs attention as traffic increases and creates safety issues, said Rodriguez. The National Park Service is set to get $228,000 from the stimulus for use at the Amistad National Recreation Area. Nancie Ames, NPS deputy superintendent, says the agency plans on creating jobs with their share of the stimulus.

Another $815,000 will go to the Del Rio Housing Authority for improvements to area housing developments for low-income families. The San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District is set to receive around $4.6 million earmarked for special education, migrant and other federal Title I programs, said Rodriguez. The biggest chunk of stimulus money will go to Laughlin Air Force Base, which will receive $5.2 million for infrastructure improvement at the facility.[5/30/09]