Thursday, February 26, 2009

Paterson on stimulus spending: transparent, immediate, and effective

At a Leaders Briefing on Economic Recovery yesterday, Gov. David Paterson laid out (video) the areas in which the state expect to spend federal stimulus funds.

They include transportation, housing (especially weatherization), energy issues, water and sewer treatment programs, and the establishment of broadband service.

"Those are the areas we want to get shovels in the ground and people working as soon as we possibly can," Paterson said. "We want these projects to be transparent, so that there is no waste in the process. We want them to be immediate, so we can get people back to work as soon as we possibly can. And we want them to be effective, meaning that they will put the most people back to work on the projects that will serve the greatest public policy and also public need at the same time. Those are the three principles that we wish to operate from."

During the session, Timothy Gilchrist, who heads the Economic Development Recovery Cabinet, explained that $14 billion in project requests are pending for $4 billion in stimulus funds for infrastructure. Some will be eligible, he said, and some won't. They can be tracked on the web site economicrecovery.ny.gov.

"The Governor's required to certify that each project has received the full review and vetting required by law," Gilchrist said.

AY eligible?

Could Atlantic Yards qualify as transparent, immediate, and effective?

It would be tough to put the Atlantic Yards railyard on the list, as I suggested.

And, argues DDDB, the project would not be in compliance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, because it's not shovel-ready, according to the bill's provisions, and it's a no-bid project.

State share, private share

One questioner pointed out that there were approved transportation projects that presumed 80% funding from the federal government and 20% from the state. Could the federal money be used to pick up the state share?

Gilchrist responded, "What I should've said earlier on all of this is, the federal government, for the transportation funding, has a requirement for maintenance of effort... The governor will have to certify that he maintained the same amount of transportation funding as was expected and reflected in the budget before this."

Wouldn't that be even more important regarding expected private funding?

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