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Pennsylvania has more jobs, safer infrastructure, greater energy independence, better schools and a clear path to economic stability because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Gov. Edward G. Rendell said Jan. 13 before the regular public meeting of the state’s Stimulus Oversight Commission.
“During the recession, we made tough decisions to cut the budget and wisely invest Recovery Act funds in crucial education, infrastructure and economic development initiatives that are now providing economic gains,” Gov. Rendell said in a written statement from the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, referring to the fact that Pennsylvania has experienced four consecutive months of lower unemployment and higher-than-expected tax collections.
“So far, the Recovery Act’s investments have helped create and protect more than 136,000 Pennsylvania jobs, according to the national Council of Economic Advisors,” Rendell said. “..the benefits have extended far beyond the Pennsylvanians who received a job as a direct result of stimulus funds.”
The Governor also noted that:
* 4.5 million Pennsylvanians received the Making Work Pay tax credit during the past two years – helping working families get through these tough times and is injecting as much as $4.8 billion in stores and businesses across the state;
* Pennsylvania businesses saved $2.2 billion through tax incentives that encourage investment and job creation;
* Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians are receiving job training, including more than 1,000 weatherization workers;
* Nearly 1.2 million out-of-work Pennsylvanians received extended unemployment compensation – providing $4.6 billion of relief as families struggled to keep a roof over their heads; and
* The 1.7 million Pennsylvanians on food stamps received additional assistance totaling more than $545 million to help put food on the table for their families – while also getting that money circulating in our economy.
“In addition to the important short-term benefits of the Recovery Act, the federal government’s investments in infrastructure and energy will provide lasting benefits that will generate future economic growth and improve the quality of life of our citizens,” the governor said.
Every day, nearly 3.4 million Pennsylvanians travel on roads and bridges that have been improved as a result of the Recovery Act, according to the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor. All told, Pennsylvania received more than $1 billion in Recovery Act funds to help resurface 940 miles of highways and improve 6.5 million square feet of bridge-deck area.
The Recovery Act also made an important investment in local water infrastructure, providing $221 million for 112 clean water and drinking water projects. These investments will eliminate nearly 2.2 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 350,000 pounds of solids from our water, and they will give more than a half-million Pennsylvanians access to clean drinking water.
“The Recovery Act is helping move Pennsylvania toward energy independence,” Rendell said. “We took the $122 million from the stimulus and used it to leverage more than $650 million of other public and private investment to build more than $777 million in energy projects.
These investments – in roads and bridges, energy, water and broadband – will make Pennsylvania more competitive for decades, long after the Recovery Act funds have been exhausted,” he continued. “They are precisely the kind of investments that the federal government should be making in a recession, because they get Americans back to work quickly while setting the stage for long-term economic prosperity.”
The U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee consistently ranked Pennsylvania as the best of the large states for our speed investing the Recovery Act’s transportation funds, and our clean water and energy projects have been ranked in the top 10 for rapidly putting resources to work.
As part of the state’s transparency and accountability initiative, this week, Pennsylvania submitted 354 separate reports ahead of Friday’s deadline for Recovery Act fund recipients to file the latest quarterly report to the federal government to show taxpayers how, when, and where their tax dollars are being invested. The commonwealth-submitted reports cover 19 agencies and represent more than 7,333 vendors and recipients — a 20-percent increase since the previous quarter.
All of the reports submitted by the commonwealth and those of every local government, business, organization and entity that received direct Recovery Act funding in the past three months will be available from the federal government later this month. However, the commonwealth made each of its 354 preliminary reports available immediately online at www.Recovery.Pa.Gov; click “Reports,” in the top bar, then “Section 1512 Reports.”
In addition, the state’s Office of Accountability produced the commonwealth’s quarterly informational report, called the “Citizens’ Update,” on the progress and impact of the Recovery Act investments. The Update provides a user-friendly look at the state’s stimulus activities and provides information beyond the required quarterly federal reports. It can be read online at www.Recovery.Pa.Gov.
In total, Pennsylvania is on track to receive more than $31 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Individual and business federal tax credits and benefits comprise about $11 billion of that total. The $16.6 billion flowing through state government agencies will build highways and bridges, help workers, improve the environment, support communities, develop alternative energy, and house residents.
More than $3.4 billion will be awarded directly from the federal government to entities across the state, including local governments, transit agencies, businesses, non-profit organizations and universities, for a variety of projects and programs.
For more information about how Pennsylvania is investing Recovery Act funds to benefit its citizens and strengthen the economy, visit www.Recovery.Pa.Gov.