President Obama announced Wednesday that the stimulus is now providing $2.4 billion in taxpayer grants to create electric cars and tens of thousands of jobs, including more than one billion in grants to Michigan for the manufacturing of advanced batteries and green vehicles.
48 projects receiving funds through the Recovery Act, were selected through a competitive process by the Department of Energy.
The president, speaking to citizens of Elkhart, Indiana who have been hit particularly hard as manufacturing jobs have disappeared, said this new investment provides $39 million for local company Navistar to create or save hundreds of jobs in the Indiana city.
“I’m committed to a strategy that ensures America leads in the design and the deployment of the next generation of clean-energy vehicles. This is not just an investment to produce vehicles today; but an investment in our capacity to develop new technologies tomorrow.”
“This country wasn’t built just by griping and complaining. It was built by hard work and taking risks. This is how we won’t just rescue the economy, but we’re going to rebuild it stronger than before.” (See the video below for more of Obama’s remarks)
Thousands of Americans found employment this week in fields ranging from computer technology to weatherization, thanks to the Recovery Act. But, the stimulus money is also providing assistance to state and local governments to off-set revenue decreases caused by the economic downturn, and help keep vital programs running while preventing layoffs. Here are some examples from around the nation:
Universities Saving Jobs, Student Programs
“Amid record cuts in state funding, Arizona’s three state universities will start receiving $154 million in federal stimulus funds next week,” according to Arizona Central. “The money won’t make up for all the cuts in their state funding, but university officials say the infusion will help save hundreds of jobs, and help them avoid more draconian cuts to the workforce or programs and services for students.”
New Affordable Housing and Jobs in Kansas
“The Recovery Act has been essential to our state, not only in terms of balancing the budget without demolishing essential state programs, but it’s also been important to Kansans who are struggling to get through this national recession,” said Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson. “New affordable housing at a senior living center in Osawatomie is a great example of how programs through the Department of the Treasury are making a difference – in this case, by creating and protecting jobs in construction, and providing affordable housing for our senior citizens.”
Putting the Brakes on the National Economic Decline
USA Today reports on new government data that shows “a huge influx of federal stimulus money to state and local governments more than offset a sharp drop in tax collections, helping to put the brakes on the nation’s economic decline. The stimulus funds helped reverse six months of spending declines, pushing state and local government expenditures up 4.8% in the second quarter, reports the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Jobs, Improved Education and Transportation for Oregon Citizens
Governor Ted Kulongoski said in the Statesman Journal, “In Oregon, where our unemployment rate ranks among the nation’s highest, the Recovery Act dollars could not have come at a more critical time. The state was able to preserve many critical services that would otherwise have been cut deeper or eliminated altogether. For example, the Recovery Act provided critical funding for K-12 education during the next two school years. Without that assistance, we would have faced a potential cut of 20 days from the school year, which is not only harmful to our children, but would also mean 20 lost days of work for teachers in Oregon’s 198 school districts. The Recovery Act also immediately allocated millions to Oregon for transportation, and we were the first state to have projects identified and contracts awarded, creating jobs immediately and making much-needed improvements to our transportation infrastructure. The state is also upgrading drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities, while contracts are starting to be signed for weatherizing the homes of low-income Oregonians — all investments that will sustain and create jobs while also improving our quality of life.”
Youth Jobs and Career Training in Texas
The El Paso Times reports, “Part of the stimulus package passed by Congress in February is providing summer jobs for more than 2,800 El Paso youths and valuable training that could lead the participants to worthwhile careers. The areas of study include computers, engineering and health sciences. Participants in the summer jobs program ranged in age from 14 to 24.”
Washington Homes Made More Energy Efficient with New Jobs
And, from the Seattle Times, “Five months after congressional approval, about $23 million in federal weatherization money is finally flowing across the state, putting theoretical plans for economic stimulus into elbow-grease practice. The goal is multipronged: Make low-income homes more energy-efficient, provide and retain ‘green’ jobs and help resuscitate a gasping economy.”