In February, our state was awarded $24.6 billion as a result of the federal Economic Stimulus Package. The amount of stimulus money was unprecedented and was intended to be used to jump-start the struggling economy. As sanctioned by federal law, the state created its own Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet. This cabinet serves as a hub for which the funding is channeled. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also where universities, counties, cities, and, some cases, businesses and non-profits, may apply for stimulus funding.
The cabinet maintains a multi-paged web site that contains specific information concerning the stimulus money and how it has been apportioned thus far. Though the state has received a large portion of the money, New York will continue to receive the money throughout the next two years.
Throughout the past two months, the Cabinet has announced funding for several shovel-ready transportation projects, energy, health, education, housing, environmental, infrastructure and unemployment programs. Here are a few ways in which the stimulus funding is assisting Central New York in terms of infrastructure and transportation. Each project has its own timeline. To find out when the projects will be complete or more details on the projects, contact the cabinet at www.recovery.ny.gov:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ $667,200 for the Salmon River Greenway Trail and Village Streetscape Improvements in the Village of Pulaski, Oswego County.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ $1.55 million for the Civic Strip in the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County;
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ A wastewater treatment plant in the village of Parish in Oswego County will receive $601,932 to replace 20 grinder pumps. 528 people will benefit from this project.
In other transportation news that applies to the Central New York area:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ $9 million was awarded to the area so far for transportation infrastructure, which is different than highway repairs and maintenance money.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Central New York will receive $88 million in highway and bridge contracts this fiscal year.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Approximately $50 million will be distributed in Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) funding, which the recovery funds enabled to be restored to this level in the state budget.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ In total, Central New York communities will receive more than $220 million in highway and bridge funding in State Fiscal Year 2009-10.
I encourage you to visit the site to see for yourselves where and how our government is spending the money, www.recovery.ny.gov. The $789 billion American Recover and Reinvestment Act was controversial and its results remain to be seen. I remain hopeful that the money will create long-term paying jobs. I am not convinced, however, that it will be used to allow our state to climb out of debt. It was a golden opportunity for our state to get its feet back on the ground during a recession. However, our state leaders didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t choose to use it as such and chose not to cut enough spending. We, instead, incorporated the funding as if it will be there again and continued to raise taxes, while increasing our budget to almost $132 billion.
I will continue to support budget reform legislation. We need to stop over-spending and reform the way in which our state leaders make decisions for its residents.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.