The first dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are going out in just two days -- Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 -- in the form of federal support for state medicaid payments.
But the impact is already being felt well beyond that. Just today, Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak announced that he was prepared to swallow hard and make significant cuts to public works and public safety. Thanks to the ARRA, he won't have to:
"Now let’s turn to Police. If the Governor’s cuts were passed on directly to the Police Department, it would have led to the elimination of 57 sworn police officer positions and 19 non sworn employees. We will not have to do that because of two factors. First, working with Chief Dolan, we are proposing elimination of $1.5 million in non personnel costs, including overtime.
"Second the federal Recovery Act’s one time public safety grants arrived just in time. President Obama said he would help cities keep police officers on the job and he has delivered. Because of this funding I will be proposing no personnel cuts in the Police Department. Next time someone asks you what the Recovery Act will do, start by telling them it will keep 57 police officers working on the streets of Minneapolis."
And in Oregon, the funds dedicated to overhauling our energy grid are already spurring investment in green jobs:
"The Bonneville Power Administration will start building a 79-mile, $246 million electrical transmission line this spring along the Columbia River that the agency says will create 700 construction jobs.
"The regional power agency said it is going forward with the project, which has been on hold since 2002, because the stimulus bill signed by President Barack Obama raises the BPA's borrowing authority by $3.25 billion. Its current borrowing authority is $4.4 billion.
" 'The recovery package allows expansion plans of this magnitude,' said Steve Wright, the BPA administrator."