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Yesterday, Vice President Biden announced nine new year-end targets for Recovery Act progress:
  • Batteries for Vehicle Electrification: By the end of the year, the Department of Energy will have put in place funding for battery manufacturing plants that can power 400,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles each year.

  • Military Hospitals: The Department of Defense will begin 34 construction and modernization projects at hospitals and medical centers throughout the country over the next 90 days, making a total of 65 hospitals and medical centers with projects under construction since passage of the Act.

  • National Parks: The Department of Interior will begin on-site construction improvement work in 105 more national parks throughout the country over the next 90 days.

  • Small Business Assistance: The Small Business Administration will provide and leverage $5 billion in capital to over 12,000 small businesses through two key lending programs (7a and 504) in the next 90 days.

  • Fuel-Efficient Bus Purchases: By the end of the year, the Federal Transit Agency will have awarded enough grants to enable the purchase of approximately 10,000 new transit vehicles across the country.

  • Housing Loans and Rehabilitation: By the end of the year, the Department of Agriculture and the Housing and Urban Development Department will have provided housing loans and capital funding to finance, build, or renovate over 100,000 households across America.

  • Renewable Energy: By the end of the year, the Departments of Energy and Treasury will help fund renewable energy projects that will generate enough alternative energy to power 900,000 homes in the United States once completed.

  • Road Projects: By the end of the year, the Department of Transportation will have obligated enough funds to support 10,000 highway projects.

"We’ve made great progress in the first seven months of Recovery Act implementation in 2009 – now we want to finish the year even stronger," said Vice President Biden. "We want to continue to be ahead of schedule on key metrics, doing all we can to create and save jobs, and building a lasting economic platform for our country."

While the Vice President was setting new and aggressive benchmarks for the Recovery Act, news media across the country continued to report on its success in creating new jobs as well as spurring innovation in science and technology that can drive the economy for years to come. The Washington Post reports on President Obama's announcement of $5 billion in research grants, including funds that "would be directed to work on genetic research that could identify the causes and cures for ailments ranging from heart and lung disease to blood diseases and autism." The Wall Street Journal reports on a road project that is expected to provide 450 to 600 jobs in California's Inland Empire, an area hard-hit by the housing bubble. "Without the stimulus money, the Interstate 215 project would have been another victim of California's budget crisis," the Journal writes.

These and other stories from across the nation follow:

National, [Washington Post, 9/30/09]

"The National Institutes of Health has awarded $5 billion in grants to support research into cures for cancer and other diseases, and to create jobs. President Barack Obama was making the announcement Wednesday at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md., with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The money comes from the $787 billion economic stimulus program that is designed to help create jobs and turn around the economy. The program included $10 billion for the NIH. Jared Bernstein, who is Vice President Joe Biden's chief economist, says the $5 billion will support some 12,000 existing projects and create thousands of jobs over the next two years for researchers and educators, as well as medical equipment makers and suppliers."

California, [The Daily Sound, 9/28/09]
"Researchers in a wide array of fields at UC Santa Barbara have received a $36 million boost through the federal economic stimulus package that university officials hope will support the local economy, fuel innovation and train the next generation of scientists…Praising federal leaders for continuing to back higher education, UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang said the funding will build upon the ongoing research on campus, leading to more patents, more local companies, more local jobs and more tax revenues. 'All of this is yet more evidence of the tremendous impact UCSB has on the local and regional economy,' he said, noting that 90 companies have been formed in the Santa Barbara area by graduates and faculty members, including nine in the past year. The grants are spread across a broad spectrum of academic topics at the university, from engineering and computer science to geography, psychology and neuroscience."

California, [Wall Street Journal, 9/29/09]

"With a federal stimulus grant of $128 million, the San Bernardino project is the country's fourth-largest stimulus investment in a road project. Without the stimulus money, the Interstate 215 project would have been another victim of California's budget crisis …For years, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which are home to the Inland Empire, led California in population growth and home construction, as thousands of families escaping skyrocketing home prices in neighboring Los Angeles County swarmed into the region. The area became the backbone of California's international trade economy and developed into a major thoroughfare and warehousing district for goods coming out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The federal stimulus money will be put toward widening seven miles of I-215, a heavily used cargo and commuter corridor running through the city of San Bernardino. The project is expected to directly employ 450 to 600 workers on the construction site each year for four years, and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy…The stimulus investment could translate into about $380 million in economic activity for the region as construction workers spend on equipment, supplies and personal expenses like food and clothing, said Mr. Husing, the economist."

Indiana, [Richmond Palladium-Item, 9/30/09]

"Eleven road construction projects are scheduled for Richmond and Wayne County this fall as a result of recent contract awards, the Indiana Department of Transportation announced this week. All roadbeds will be milled and resurfaced with 100 percent federal funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Milestone Contractors submitted low bids for the following stimulus projects: Contracts of $62,886 and $65,225 to mill and resurface Pottershop Road from Pennville Road .27 miles to Abington, and from Abington for .16 miles to U.S. 27 -- to be completed in early October. $147,292 contract to patch, wedge, level, mill and resurface .65 miles of Salisbury Road including the intersection with Nolands Fork Road -- to be completed in early November."

Oregon, [Associated Press, 9/29/09]

"Companies dealing in matters as small as a photon and as large as a harbor dredging vessel are winning contracts that could eventually define how large a jolt Oregon gets from the federal stimulus package. Contracts awarded by federal agencies have attracted less attention than other parts of the recovery package — tax cuts and aid to the state government to maintain schools, human services, unemployment benefits and roads.  Spending on the part of federal agencies is still taking shape, but the contracts are a significant part of the stimulus program, whose variety is remarkable to some who have gotten more familiar with it as they bid for contracts. 'There's money coming out all over the place,' said Margaret Brooks, executive vice president of a Portland temp agency, which was awarded a small contract worth up to $62,000. She said the company would pay engineers working on the reconstruction of the Steens Mountain loop road in southeast Oregon. She said the money would put four people to work, some part time and probably none for long. That project is among 56 planned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Oregon, most resulting in contracts, worth $32 million. Many federal agencies have projects in the works: $3.4 million in stimulus money for dredging at five river mouths along the Oregon Coast, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project, or several smaller forest thinning operations. The announcements trickle out week by week. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, an active announcer for such enterprises as the Portland region's mass transit system, said late last week, for example, that the Klamath Falls Airport in Southern Oregon would get about $667,000 to rehabilitate a taxiway, which soon should result in contracts and jobs.  When the stimulus package was approved in the spring, the Obama administration estimated it would save or create 44,000 jobs in Oregon."

Virginia, [The News Leader, 9/30/09]

"When Congress passed the $787 billion federal stimulus package in February, it designated $21.5 billion for research and development …To date, U.Va. investigators have secured more than $38.7 million in stimulus funding for 102 projects across the research spectrum, from medicine to nursing, astronomy to physics, engineering to education, biology and beyond. Funding ranges from thousands of dollars to millions, including a $3.2 million grant to study genetic contributors to diabetes and dyslipidemia in African-Americans, led by medical professor Michele Sale. Other funded projects include a study to improve the healing of diseased or damaged vascular systems, led by biomedical engineer Shayn Peirce-Cottler; a study of extrasolar planets by astronomer Philip Arras; and an investigation into Rydberg atoms to understand connections between classical and quantum mechanics, led by physicist Thomas Gallagher. 'The federal stimulus program is fostering new discoveries that will enhance dissemination of knowledge to the commonwealth, the nation and the world,' Thomas Skalak, vice president for research, said. 'Our researchers are gaining valuable insights into new potential health care diagnostics and therapeutics, creating a more sustainable living environment and discovering the origins of our solar system.' Biology chairman Taylor said he is pleased that the stimulus plan includes significant funding for research. 'It says the federal government understands that science is a priority,' he said. 'This is a huge morale-booster.'"