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 Vermont in the first three months of his administration.
IMPACT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ECONOMIC POLICIES ON VERMONT
To the White House Progress Reports from other states, click here.
• Making Work Pay: The President's tax-cut - which covers more Americans than any in history - is putting more than $100 million back in the pockets of more than 300,000 hard-working Vermont families.
• $2,823,373 to support child care for working families.
• $10,323,300 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements.
• $16,842,576 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment.
• $21,999,000 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.
• $162,635,576 potentially available to Vermont 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.
• $1,300,000 to fund 1 new Community Health Centers, which will serve an estimated 4,170 patients and create a projected 30 jobs.
• $1,540,601 to expand services at 8 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 8,732 patients and create or save a projected 37 jobs.
• $485,000 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
• $45,464,332 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.
• $491,557 in vaccines and grants to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.
• $125,791,291 in highway funds to help build and repair roads and bridges.
• strong>$5,680,572 to repair and build public transportation infrastructure.
• More than $4.9 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 VERMONT
Thanks to the Obama Administration's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, real impact is already being felt across the state.
First Vermont Stimulus Project Began In Early March 2009. "Governor Jim Douglas hauled out the barricade to officially close the Bridge Street bridge to traffic. Such construction doesn't usually draw this much attention, but it's the first project in the state to put federal stimulus dollars to work. ‘All new steel will be galvanized steel because it doesn't corrode as quickly and we'll have a lot less maintenance in the future,' project manager Chris Williams explained. The $2 million project is the first segment of $126 million that will be pumped into transportation projects over the next year." [WCAX TV, 3/9/09]
New Bridge in Vermont Would Have Taken Years Without Stimulus; Stores Lost Business When Old Bridge Closed Last Fall. "Some of Vermont's first federal stimulus money will be going to replace a bridge through the center of Richmond. U.S. Rep. Peter Welch announced the funding Monday, saying it's an example of what can be done if the federal government is in partnership with local communities. Without the stimulus funding, officials say, it would've been years before Richmond got a replacement bridge. Rehabilitation work will begin March 9 and take about four months, during which the bridge will be closed. But Richmond business leaders want people to know that stores will be open for business even when the bridge isn't. They lost a lot of business last fall, when the bridge was suddenly ordered closed because of safety concerns." [AP, 3/2/09]
EPA: Vermont Water Projects, Funded by Stimulus, Will Create New Jobs. "EPA Announces $19.5 Million in Stimulus Funds for Water Infrastructure Projects in Vermont Will Boost Economy, Create Jobs and Protect Public Health… In a move that stands to create jobs, boost local economies, improve aging water infrastructure and protect human health and the environment for the people of Vermont, the U.S. EPA has awarded $19.5 million to the Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation to help the state and local governments finance many of the overdue improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment across the state. 'EPA is committed to being part of the solution in this economic downturn. By keeping water clean, safe, and healthy, we're bringing new jobs and new opportunities to local communities,' said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. 'Protecting human health and the environment is a great way to put people to work and stimulate our economy.'" [EPA Documents and Publications, 4/14/09]
Battleboro Reformer: State clinic funded through stimulus Springfield Hospital is one of 126 medical centers around the country designated for federal funding as part of the recently passed economic stimulus act. The Vermont hospital will receive at least $1.3 million over the next two years through the $2 billion in federal aid dedicated specially for community health centers, according to Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt. LINK
Stimulus Funding For Burlington Police Department Will Be Used To Create Support Service Jobs And Invest In Key Technology. "The details are still being worked out but more than $500,000 in stimulus funding will be coming to Burlington to help crack down on criminals. The money is part of a $5 million Justice Assistance Grant helping dozens of local police departments in Vermont and the State Police. In Burlington, Police Chief Michael Schirling says it will fund technology projects including online capabilities that will allow people to report suspicious activity on a website. He says there could be an online map that pinpoints where crime is happening. The money will also be used to create jobs in support services according to Chief Schirling. ‘I think there's a strong likelihood some of the positions will be related to mental health and substance abuse and delivering direct service to the community with our emergency response,' said Schirling. He says the funds are arriving at the perfect time. The police department just completed a survey that asked for public feedback about the direction of the department and those results will help guide how the money is used." [WPTZ-TV (Vermont), 3/11/09]
Stimulus Funding Will Increase Headstart and Childcare Funding For Vermont Children. "The federal stimulus package includes more than one half-million dollars for Headstart and Childcare programs in Vermont. The increase means 450 more income-eligible children will receive child care and 15 percent more will receive Headstart. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, talked about the extra funding Monday morning. ‘The reality of today is that the overwhelming number of working families in our state, in our country in those situations, mom and dad are both working. What happens to the children? What do we do for the children? And the truth is we have not done for the well by those children,' Sanders said. Last year nearly 2,000 Vermont kids received Headstart. That's less than half of those who were eligible. [WCAX-TV, 3/16/09]