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News About the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Six Months Later, Recovery Act is “Helping our Nation Move in the Right Direction”
Speaker Pelosi: 'From coast to coast, the Recovery Act is already paying dividends for workers, families, and small businesses. One of the most wide-ranging tax cuts in history is boosting the paychecks of 95 percent of our nation's workers. Our investments in the jobs of tomorrow, in our roads, bridges and rail lines, in the health of the American people and in the education of our children are setting our economy back on track and putting Americans back to work.

'There is still a long way to go. Millions of Americans remain out of work. Families continue to struggle each day just to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table. But as last month's encouraging jobs and GDP numbers show, the Recovery Act is helping our nation move in the right direction. Congress will continue to work day in and day out to create jobs and economic growth to keep America on the road to recovery.” [Read More]

We were Facing the Greatest Economic Crisis in a Generation…

  • The economy that was losing, on average, 700,000 jobs a month.
  • Foreclosures were at record levels and residential investment had fallen by more than 40 percent in just eighteen months.
  • Banks were in crisis and freezing lending.
  • And nearly $10 trillion in wealth had been lost in the stock market which was on a steady downward spiral.

Just Six Months in There are Some Early Signs of Progress in the Economy.

  • At the beginning of 2009, the economy contracted by 6.4 percent - the fastest rate of GDP decline since 1958.  In the first full quarter of the Recovery Act, it contracted by just 1 percent. 
  • We lost 741,000 jobs in January - the largest single month decline since 1949.  Last month - about five months into the Recovery Act - that number fell by more than one-third.

The Stimulus allowed us to Create Stability and Help Those Harmed by  Creating and Saving Jobs through Smart and Accountable Spending…
Because of the Recovery Act:

  • Ninety-five percent of working families are already seeing the benefits of the Making Work Pay tax credit in their paychecks.
  • Tens of thousands of teachers, law enforcement officials and firefighters are staying on the job at our schools, police stations and firehouses because of the billions of dollars in Recovery Act assistance we moved to state and local governments.
  • Nearly 32 percent of funds have gone out with over 30,000 Recovery Act projects - ranging from community health center expansions to military facility upgrades to transportation construction jobs - have already been approved.
  • Those struggling in the economy are collecting an extra $25 a week in unemployment benefits are paying 65 percent less for their COBRA health coverage, and are seeing food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increase by over 13 percent.
  • Over 51 million seniors, as well as veterans and other high-need groups, have received $250 relief payments in the mail.
  • More than 7 million low and moderate-income students will receive a 15 percent increase in their Pell Grant awards to help pay for college.
  • State governments have received over $34 billion in additional Medicaid funds at a time when they are facing record budget shortfalls.

… And We are Just Getting Started.
In June, the Administration announced 10 major Recovery Act projects that are starting across the country over the summer including:

  • Rehabilitation and improvement projects at 98 airports and over 1,500 highway locations.
  • Improvements to 90 veterans medical centers in 38 states.
  • Construction of 200 new waste and water systems in rural communities.
  • 2,300 construction and rehabilitation projects at 359 military facilities.

Billions of dollars of grant programs established in the first phase of the Recovery Act are now starting to award funds to businesses, local governments and community organizations.

  • $2.4 billion in grants to jumpstart the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries and other next generation energy-efficient cars were awarded this month.
  • Nearly a billion dollars in Community Development Block Grants are heading out the door to local government and community organizations over the summer.
  • At the end of the summer, we will start awarding over $15 billion in grant funds for three visionary Recovery Act programs - broadband, high speed rail and smart grid - that will not just create jobs now, but shape America's economy in the 21st century.

The Arizona Republic - Experts argue over impact of economic stimulus plan
The most recent federal estimates show Arizona agencies will receive at least $6.3 billion from the stimulus.

Jeffrey Frankel, a Harvard University economist who has served on the Federal Reserve Board, said Obama's stimulus, along with the bank bailouts and other Fed measures, has undoubtedly eased the nation's economic pain.

'The economy was essentially in free fall at the start of the year,' he said. 'When you have a stimulus of that size, it (makes) a big difference.'

The stimulus focuses much of its resources on bread-and-butter government work such as road construction. Statewide, it is expected to directly fund about 6,000 jobs in roadwork, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Earlier this month, ECOtality Inc. of Scottsdale won a $100 million stimulus-funded grant to build electric-car charging stations across five states. It directly provides 250 skilled jobs in Arizona and another 500 across the country. It also indirectly helps support 5,500 jobs with Nissan, mainly in Tennessee, building electric cars, said Jonathan Read, chief executive of ECOtality.

'For us, it has a profound effect,' Read said. 'This is exactly what the stimulus was supposed to do.' [Read More]

The Tennessean - Tennessee highway projects get federal boost
The $9 million [highway] construction job is one of nearly 200 statewide paid for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The state's share of federal stimulus money totals $572 million...

Tennessee Department of Transportation officials said stimulus money, coupled with a new bridge bonding program and money the state already planned to spend on upgrades, will create a road project in every Tennessee county in the next year.

All but 13 of Tennessee's 95 counties are 'economically distressed' by federal standards and were to receive priority for stimulus projects. About 75 percent of the TDOT road projects approved so far are in those counties.

Sixteen of the 19 West and Middle Tennessee counties in U.S. Rep. John Tanner's district are considered economically distressed. In the short term, he said, the road stimulus will bring them jobs. Over the long term, he's hopeful that the highway investment will help them be more profitable.

'You can't make any money where there's no infrastructure,' Tanner said. 'Hopefully a good infrastructure in and of itself will attract companies and jobs to these areas.' [Read More]

The Daily Courier (Arizona) - ADOT: Federal stimulus money gets road construction moving
[Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT)] reports that 17 federal stimulus-related projects currently are under construction statewide, and two more are already complete.

Along with improving the state's highways and creating more than 6,000 construction jobs, ADOT says, the ARRA projects also have produced millions in savings when comparing the state's estimates to the approved low bids. [Read More]

WAPT-TV (Mississippi) - Energy Dept. Awards MS Nearly $470K
The funds, which are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will be used by the state to hire or retrain personnel and increase the state's capability to address situations that may disrupt the electrical system, including blackouts, hurricanes, ice storms and disruptions to heat suppliers.

The funds will also be used to help Mississippi address cyber security issues and prepare for the challenges of incorporating smart grid technologies and renewable energy sources into the transmission network. [Read More]

The News-Record (North Carolina) - Stimulus money flowing into Guilford
After six months of paperwork, nearly $20 million worth of federal stimulus money has begun to funnel into Greensboro. Countywide, it's up to $128 million, state calculations show.

“Now the public will really start to see the money flowing and people be put back to work,” said Adam Fischer, Greensboro's acting transportation director.

This summer, the [Guilford County Workforce Development Board] put more than 434 young people into jobs with the stimulus money, said Steve Jones, assistant director for the Workforce Development Board.

And this month, the board will send about 15 people to GTCC to learn how to weld -- another stimulus-funded program that is providing job skills training for adults. [Read More]

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