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On First Anniversary of ARRA Funding, Governor Paterson Announces New York Spending Ahead of Federal Deadlines

ALBANY, NY (02/17/2010)(readMedia)– On the first anniversary of the allocation of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, Governor David A. Paterson announced that New York State is on track to designate and contract all stimulus funds already awarded to New York. The Governor issued a report prepared by the New York State Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet highlighting the State’s progress, which demonstrates that all State agencies are ahead of federal deadlines.

“I am proud to report that all State agencies are on or ahead of schedule in spending stimulus funds. In addition, New York has instituted several layers of oversight to ensure that stimulus funds are spent as Congress directed and to build our economy and create jobs,” Governor Paterson said. “Because of weather conditions, many infrastructure projects must wait until the winter ends before construction can start. But those projects will be ready to begin as soon as weather permits.”

As noted in the Cabinet’s December 4 report, New York will receive at least $31 billion in ARRA funding. The sum includes:

∙ approximately $6.7 billion in aid to individuals, such as increased unemployment assistance and food stamps;

∙ approximately $3 billion for infrastructure, such as
transportation and clean water and drinking water projects;

∙ approximately $16 billion in aid to State and local governments, including education and Medicaid funds; and

∙approximately $5 billion for housing job training, health, energy and public safety projects.
Some of those funds were provided directly to local governments, individuals, universities, businesses and other organizations. The current report focuses on funds channeled through State agencies.

Highlights of the report include the following:
Aid to Individuals

∙ Unemployment: More than 1 million New Yorkers have so far received an additional $3.08 billion in added unemployment benefits through the stimulus package, and as a result of legislation introduced by Governor Paterson to allow New Yorkers to take advantage of extended unemployment benefits.

∙ Food Stamps: More than $441.8 million in increased food stamp benefits have come to New Yorkers as a result of the ARRA benefit increase.

Employment and Job Training

∙ Summer Jobs for Youth: Though funds for summer youth employment were not available until March for a program start of May 1, 2009, the 33 local workforce investment areas and the Department of Labor ran successful programs in every part of the State, providing more than 24,000 summer jobs.

∙ Job Training: The Department of Labor received $169 million in Workers Investment Act funding, which enabled 40,060 New Yorker to participate in training at the local level from May through the end of December 2009.
Infrastructure

∙ Transportation: New York State received $1.12 billion for highway and bridge projects. By December 31, 100 percent of the funds were obligated for 444 projects, well before the March 2, 2010 deadline. By this spring, 98 percent of the funds will be in the construction phase, and 100 percent by this summer.

∙ Drinking Water: The New York State Department of Health received $86.8 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) through the ARRA. As of February 12, 2010, all of the ARRA dollars will have been committed to 30 projects through formal assistance agreements.

∙ Clean Water: New York State received $432 million, the
largest grant in EPA history, for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF); 100 percent of these funds were allocated to 44 wastewater projects. The Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) is set to successfully meet the February 17, 2010 deadline. Currently, 27 of the 44 projects are under construction.

Housing

New York, which urged an allocation of ARRA funds for the Tax Credit Assistance Program, has used its $253 million to restart 47 stalled affordable housing projects with 4,527 units and total development costs of more than $1 billion. A federal Department of Housing and Urban Development report shows that New York has already disbursed more funds than any other state and expects to finance more affordable housing units than any other state. Currently, 26 of the 47 projects are under construction.

Weatherization

New York was unable to enter into contracts for its $394 million in Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) funds until September because it had to wait for the U.S. Department of Labor to set Congressionally-required wage rates. Despite that delay, 79 contracts have been signed and almost $52 million expended.

“We are determined to ensure that New York meets all deadlines so that we do not lose any stimulus funds and are ready to take advantage should any states not meet their own deadlines. In addition, we are continuing to compete for additional funds for programs such as high speed rail, broadband and the competitive transportation funds,” Governor Paterson said. “We have set up unprecedented oversight and transparency procedures to ensure the funds are spent appropriately, that any waste or fraud are identified promptly, and that citizens can see where the money is going.”

Oversight and Transparency

∙ The Stimulus Oversight Panel was established by Governor Paterson in July 2009 to ensure that Recovery Act funds are utilized with transparency and accountability. The panel is headed by the State Inspector General Justice Joseph Fisch, and includes the State’s Medicaid Inspector General James Sheehan, the Inspector General of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Barry Kluger, and State Division of Human Rights Commissioner Galen Kirkland.

∙ The Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet established the Internal Control and Fraud Prevention Working Group to provide guidance to agencies in meeting the requirements and the intent of the Recovery Act. This guidance has taken the form of training, internal control best practices, an accountability presence on the Cabinet’s web site and quality assurance activities over stimulus reporting.

∙ The Cabinet provides data on stimulus activity in New York on its website: http://www.recovery.ny.gov

∙ State agencies and other recipients report quarterly to the federal Recovery Board which posts the reports on its website: http://www.recovery.gov

∙ The State Comptroller’s Office monitors and audits spending and provides tracking on its Open Book website: http://www.openbooknewyork.com.

∙ Federal agency inspector generals and the General Accounting Office are conducting regular reviews and audits.

Jobs Reporting

All recipients of stimulus funds report quarterly to the federal Recovery Board on spending and job creation. The most recent reports were due January 15 for the period from September 1 through December 31, 2009, and applied new rules for reporting. State agencies reported 33,704 jobs were created for the quarter. Adding all other reports from all recipients in the State, including those reporting directly to the federal government, 42,842 jobs were created, according to http://www.recovery.gov.

For more information on the Recovery Act, including lists of projects with specific award amounts, or to see how New York State has performed compared to the rest of the country, visit http://www.recovery.gov.

For information on the Recovery Act in New York State, including detailed program descriptions and project maps, visit http://www.recovery.ny.gov.

The Office of the State Comptroller provides detailed information on agency spending for funds included in State appropriations at http://www.openbooknewyork.com. The website contains a search feature that can access State agency spending and contracts including what companies have received contracts. All data regarding spending is easily accessible and downloadable.

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