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Tag: Stimulus


Stimulus weatherization spending up

Washington’s spending of stimulus funds for low-income housing weatherization is back on track, state officials said today.

Since July 2009, state officials have upgraded more than 3,300 low-income housing units in Washington using nearly $30 million in stimulus money, according to a news release from Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office Monday.

The state’s progress qualifies it to start spending an additional $30 million that Washington was awarded for weatherization work last year, but which federal officials warned could be reallocated if the state failed to meet performance goals.

The state’s entire award of $59.5 million is expected to upgrade a total 7,000 homes with improvements such as energy efficient windows, new insulation and updated furnaces, all of which aim to reduce energy use.

The residential weatherization work was slow to start due to bureaucratic confusion about how to follow conflicting federal and state wage requirements.

State officials said they weatherized 186 homes with the stimulus money during the five-month period between July and the end of November.

In the five months since, they’ve used the stimulus money to complete work on an additional 3,100 units, according to the numbers released Monday.

See the governor’s press release below.

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Is stimulus a lifesaver or boondoggle for Washington?

Predictably, this week’s first anniversary of the economic stimulus package is being used by both sides to bolster their own view of reality.

Administration supporters are touting the spending infusion (some would say more like an I.V. drip) as saving the country from another Great Depression. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined Gov. Chris Gregoire in Seattle today, touting the stimulus’ job creation and project completion in Washington state.

Here’s how the governor put it:

“With Recovery Act funding, we have supported and sustained thousands of living-wage jobs while greatly improving our communities … Without this funding, more people would be out of work. The unemployed would be in a worse position than they are now. The Recovery Act kept our state from falling off the ledge by providing vitally important transportation, environmental and other community improvements.

Meanwhile, GOP critics are blasting the stimulus as a monumental waste of money with little to show for it. As Gregoire and Salazar were holding a press conference, state GOP Chairman Luke Esser fired off his own press release:

“The Obama Administration must be awfully concerned about its ineffective stimulus plan, because this is the second visit by top Administration officials in as many weeks to our state in an attempt to put a happy face on their increasingly unpopular and wasteful spending. Rather than propping up the so-called success of this binge spending experiment, Secretary Salazar should get back to business in the other Washington and start working in a bipartisan manner to create real jobs for Washingtonians.”

Read on for the full press releases.

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Latest stimulus numbers

Federal stimulus grants worth $7.4 billion were awarded to Washington State in 2009.

That’s according to Gov. Chris Gregoire today, an announcement that reflects updates from the last quarter of the year. Recipients spent more than $535 million of the money in the fourth quarter, bringing the total spent so far to nearly $1 billion.

Pierce County agencies and companies have received $300.9 million.

Large shares include $1 billion for King County, $235 million for Spokane County, $214 million for Yakima County, $3.5 billion for Benton County – mostly for cleaning up the Hanford nuclear reservation – and $484 million

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Working on the railroad

Gov. Chris Gregoire today said the federal high-speed rail money for Washington will provide 6,500 jobs in the state.

“These are going to be family wage jobs, up and down our biggest transportation corridor in our state,” Gregoire told reporters.

Officials learned Wednesday the state will get $590 million in stimulus funds (read the story here). They don’t yet know which projects the Obama administration has approved, state rail director Scott Witt said today, but he expects the list to include a planned 19.2-mile inland route to bypass Point Defiance and shave six minutes from the Seattle-Portland trip.


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Pierce County wins $4.4 million energy efficiency grant

Pierce County has won a $4.4 million federal grant to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The money from the U.S. Department of Energy will cover everything from a new heating system at the jail to installing heat pumps in old houses.

It also will be used to hire Ryan Dicks – son of U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Balfair – to be the county’s “sustainability manager.”

In announcing the grant, County Executive Pat McCarthy said it “provides an excellent opportunity to find efficiencies, reduce energy costs and improve air quality.”

“It is fundamentally important to me that we leave a legacy of clean air and clean water for our children,” McCarthy said.

The Department of Energy grant is the latest example of federal economic stimulus money flowing to Pierce County.

State figures show $239 million worth of stimulus grants have come to the county through the state. That doesn’t include other grants that came straight from the federal government.

The latest grant will be used for a series of projects:

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State government has spent half-billion in stimulus dough so far

We expect hard numbers on how the stimulus is working – dollars spent, local projects, jobs created – on Friday, when the feds post the first quarterly accounting. In the meantime, here’s a preliminary Associated Press report from a press briefing this morning in Olympia.

Officials say about half a billion dollars in federal stimulus money has been spent so far by the state government.

On Monday, state officials discussed some of the preliminary numbers submitted to the federal government earlier this month to help track stimulus spending. Final numbers won’t be available until Friday, when the federal government

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Gregoire to speak at Tacoma City Club about stimulus spending on Pierce County projects

It will be Wednesday the 16.

Governor Gregoire tells local stimulus story

Tacoma, WA – September 9, 2009 – City Club welcomes Governor Christine Gregoire at the club’s monthly lunch meeting. Governor Gregoire will discuss stimulus dollars being spent in Pierce County and the jobs created and sustained from those projects. She will also take audience questions, time permitting.

Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Location: Landmark Convention Center
Rooftop Ballroom
47 St. Helens, Tacoma
Free parking
Time: 12:15 – 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $23 for members, $30 for guests (includes lunch), some $5.00 dessert/coffee only tickets at door
Advance reservations are needed by Monday, September 14 at 253-272-9561, or office@cityclubtacoma.org.
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