2009-10-15 / Local & State

Federal Recovery Funds Are Putting Pennsylvanians To Work

Thousands of people are working in Pennsylvania because of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and millions are receiving direct benefits that help put food on their tables and keep their families afloat, Gov. Edward G. Rendell said Friday.

Just six months into the 36- month stimulus initiative, Pennsylvania has nearly 40 percent of the funds that will be available invested or in progress. A U.S. House committee ranks Pennsylvania seventh among states for putting transportation funding to work.

“All together, more than 7,000 people are directly working on transportation and water infrastructure projects now,” Rendell said. “These 7,000 people are earning paychecks and are able to pay their bills, shop in their community and help get this economy revved up.

“That doesn’t count all of the other people working to supply products like concrete, steel and gravel for these projects. The ripple effect of jobs supported by Recovery-funded projects is about 40,000 according to the Council of Economic Advisors,” the governor said, standing with two contractors who said they have hundreds of staff on the payroll this year because of stimulus funding.

“There are thousands of people out there whose lives are directly impacted by stimulus,” said Mark Snyder, president Mid- Atlantic Group, which owns Hummelstown-based Pennsy Supply. “We do transportation projects across the nation and PennDOT should be held up as a national model for the speed and effectiveness of getting stimulus funds moving.”

Michael Hawbaker, executive vice president for materials and transportation at State Collegebased Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., agreed.

“Without stimulus funding there would be about 200 fewer people working right now,” Hawbaker said. “This is a very positive end to 2009. Much better than we were expecting last year.”

Saturday was the deadline for the first preliminary quarterly reports to the federal government to provide details on how Recovery Act funds are being spent. Pennsylvania will submit 276 separate reports. The reports will be finalized and available from the federal government on Oct. 30, but Pennsylvania made each of the preliminary reports available Monday morning at www.Recovery.pa.gov.

The federal government requires that the jobs be calculated by hours rather than by the number of people working, so that only funding recipients report what the full-time jobs would be as a the number of jobs created or retained.

“That’s a very conservative way to count jobs. Even under those parameters, we will be reporting that sufficient work was generated to employ about 1,000 individuals for a full year,” the governor said. “We know more than 7,000 people are working directly on stimulus projects, some of those workers might be on short-term jobs. So that doesn’t count at the federal level as one job; that counts as one-twelfth of a job.

“We are making terrific progress infusing this money into the economy and when the 256 road and bridge projects funded with stimulus dollars that are already under way are complete, more than 550 miles of roads and more than 400 bridges will be safer for our citizens to travel.

In addition to roads and bridges, Pennsylvania has released grants and loans of $121.9 million to provide clean water and fix wastewater problem that will benefit more than 460,000 households across the state – helping 1.2 million people.

Overall, Pennsylvania expects to receive about $16 billion from the Recovery Act over the next two years. Of the $10 billion in funds that flow directly through the state to be used to help individuals and repair infrastructure, the state has already spent more than $2.3 billion, with another $1.6 billion in the pipeline.

“The positive impact on the economy is unmistakable,” Rendell said. “In fact, the direct investments translate into about $780 per household in this state. That’s a real infusion and there is no question it is having its intended impact.”

For more information about the impact of Recovery Act funds on Pennsylvania, visit: www.Recovery.Pa.gov.

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