Many people have questions about how Recovery Act funds will be invested. Here are answers to some of the most common inquiries.
How much money does Pennsylvania expect to get?
Pennsylvania will receive $33.8 billion in Recovery Act funds to stimulate the economy with a wide range of investments, including transportation infrastructure, other infrastructure and housing, energy independence, the environment, public safety, services for Pennsylvanians, education and health care. Some federal funding is provided to each state based on established formulas based on factors such as population. In addition to formula-driven funds to state agencies, Pennsylvania will apply for every available competitive grant that can benefit residents and create economic growth. Pennsylvania state agencies will channel about $19 billion of Recovery Act funds. More than $11 billion will go directly to residents and businesses in the form of tax credits; almost $3.7 billion will go directly to local municipalities, businesses, and other organizations.
How much federal stimulus money has the state spent so far?
Access the most recent expenditure report here.
When does the stimulus money run out?
Most of the federal Recovery Act funding to the states has been awarded. However, many programs will continue to operate into 2012 and 2013 and some funding streams are expected to have a longer implementation period.
How are those most impacted by the recession being helped?
More than $4.6 billion will help fund health care for over 2.2 million citizens in need in Pennsylvania, and about $3.4 billion will assist the workforce by providing enhanced Unemployment Compensation benefits and training programs. The enhanced unemployment benefits provide immediate economic stimulus in local communities because people have funds to purchase goods and services.
How many jobs have been created or retained as the result of the Recovery Act?
The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimates that about 132,000 jobs have been created or retained in Pennsylvania. Nationally, the CEA estimates jobs created or retained at about 3.1 million. These estimates include all of the ripple-effect jobs supported by Recovery Act funding.
What do the jobs numbers reported to the Federal government show?
Each quarter, recipients of Recovery Act funds report to the federal government the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs directly funded by the Recovery Act in that quarter. These reports do not provide information on cumulative jobs and only cover about one-third of Recovery Act spending.
How is stimulus money being invested in education? In road and bridge projects? In water projects? In public safety? In energy?
The Impact section of the state’s Recovery Act Web site, provides information on spending and programs in eight categories. Additional information is provided in the Performance and Outcome measures, as well as the expenditure reports, which can be accessed from the Reports section of the site.
Who decides how, and where, the stimulus money is spent?
Pennsylvania uses its existing transparent processes for awarding grants and making funding decisions – many of which occur at the local level, not in Harrisburg. School boards, for example, will decide, within guidelines, how they will use education grants. Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Rural Planning Organizations work directly with PennDOT and prioritize transportation projects in their regions.
Does the public get to have input?
There are several ways the public can provide input. A public comment session is included on the agenda of every Stimulus Oversight Commission meeting. The Pennsylvania Stimulus Oversight Commission meets approximately every other month. Also, the contact name, e-mail and phone number for every state government agency involved with the Recovery Act is listed in the Public Input section under Contacts.
What do I do if I see waste, fraud or abuse involving stimulus funds?
Pennsylvania’s Recovery Act Accountability Office has partnered with the state’s Inspector General to ensure that all complaints about suspected waste, fraud or abuse are thoroughly investigated. You can contact the Inspector General’s office from the Hotline page on this site.
How do I find out what stimulus money is being used in my community?
The Impact section of this Web site includes an interactive map where you can click on your county to see Recovery Act investments flowing to your county through state government agencies. You can click on individual projects to learn more about the specific funding, how it will be used, names of the contractor(s) and subcontractor(s), jobs created or retained and other relevant information. This site is intended to track funds flowing through state government agencies to Pennsylvanians. Since nearly half the funding Pennsylvania expects to receive from the Recovery Act flows directly to individuals and businesses and from federal agencies to local governments and businesses this site provides a list of direct federal funding by county. These lists are updated periodically and based on information obtained from various sources including the official federal Recovery Act Web site: http://www.recovery.gov/.
How will the state be accountable for stimulus funds?
Pennsylvania is committed to strong accountability and transparency for every Recovery Act dollar. This Web site provides continuously updated information on how all stimulus funds are used and the specific status of Pennsylvania projects.
To ensure that government is accountable to the taxpayers, a Stimulus Oversight Commission was appointed to oversee the work of state agencies in implementing the Recovery Act. The state also provided Citizens’ Updates with detailed data on Pennsylvania’s progress in putting Recovery Act funds to use on behalf of the commonwealth’s residents and businesses. Pennsylvania also provides Performance and Outcome Measures to help explain not only what funds are being invested in, but also what citizens will get for those investments.
I’m having a hard time paying my energy bills and my house is old and drafty. Are there any programs to help me?
The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act provides $254.2 million for Pennsylvania’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which is designed to help low-income households reduce energy consumption and costs. These resources will enable the commonwealth to achieve greater energy independence, put more Pennsylvanians to work by increasing demand for skilled weatherization professionals and provide long-term help to vulnerable residents by reducing their energy bills. For a list of weatherization agencies, see the Opportunities section of our site.
Where can I get copies of Recovery-funded contracts?
All contracts awarded by state agencies, including American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, are posted online through the state Treasury’s office. If you know contract details you can narrow your search quickly. For the broadest search results, type “ARRA” into the “Subject Matter Contains” search box at the bottom of the form.
What should I do if I suspect discrimination is occurring in a Recovery Act funded program?
Recovery Act funded programs or activities must comply with all nondiscrimination and equal opportunity statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders that apply to the distribution and use of federal funds. Consequently, Recovery Act funded programs or activities must be free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, and where applicable, sex, religion, age and family status. The federal agency that provides Recovery Act funding to state and local entities is responsible for ensuring compliance with the civil rights laws applicable to the federal agency’s grant program. If you know which federal agency is providing the Recovery Act funds, click here for a link to information about filing a discrimination complaint with that agency. If you are not sure which agency funds the program, you may file a discrimination complaint with the Coordination and Review Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Click here www.justice.gov/crt/cor/complaint.php for a complaint form, or call the Title VI hotline (888-848-5306/ TDD 202-307-2678) for additional information. If you are interested in more detailed information about the scope of civil rights statutes that apply to all recovery act funded programs click here http://www.justice.gov/recovery/rec-implementing.html to see the Department of Justice’s Notice on Civil Rights Obligations.
If you wish to file a discrimination complaint or want more information about a federal agency’s civil rights enforcement program, please select one of the following links:
|Environmental Protection Agency||http://epa.gov/civilrights/|
|Health & Human Services||http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/|
|Housing & Urban Development||http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/aboutfheo/aboutfheo.cfm|
|Office of Justice Programs||http://ojp.usdoj.gov/about/ocr/complaint.htm|
|National Endowment of the Arts||http://www.nea.gov/about/civil.html|
|National Science Foundation||http://nsf.gov/od/oeo|
If you would like more information about Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, or the American with Disabilities Act, please select the link below:
Disabilities Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice http://www.justice.gov/crt/drs/drshome.php