SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Governor Schwarzenegger today announced that on the one year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), $2.5 billion will be committed to almost 900 transportation projects statewide by the end of February. California has managed more than $25 billion in Recovery Act funds to improve California’s infrastructure and fund jobs, while extending the safety net to tens of thousands of Californians through the quick and efficient use of Recovery Act funds.
“One year after the Recovery Act was signed, California continues to work around the clock to get every possible dollar into our state to provide a much-needed boost to create jobs and jumpstart the economy,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Creating jobs and repairing California’s infrastructure are two of my top priorities, and I’m pleased to report that the Recovery Act funds coming to California are doing both.”
California has been a leader in its efforts to provide an unprecedented level of transparency with Recovery Act spending, as required by the Obama Administration. On January 30, 2010, the California Recovery Task Force released preliminary numbers on both spending and job creation. The California Recovery Task Force also maintains a Web site which provides an unparalleled look at how Recovery Act dollars are spent statewide.
Recovery Act money has flowed to nearly every area of government, including public infrastructure projects, energy efficiency programs, job training and providing a safety net to thousands of Californians.
Infrastructure & Housing:
California currently is home to two of the largest Recovery Act transportation funded projects in the nation. For a complete list of transportation projects please visit dot.ca.gov/Recovery/.
· Caldecott Tunnel 4th Bore Project: Funded with $197.5 million in federal Recovery Act dollars, this project represents the single largest Recovery Act funded transportation project in the nation and will reduce congestion on State Route 24 by building a fourth tunnel bore as part of the Caldecott Tunnel, linking Orinda to Oakland.
· Interstate 405 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Project: A 10-mile northbound HOV lane will be constructed on the San Diego Freeway (I-405) from the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) to the Ventura Freeway (U.S. 101). This is the second largest Recovery Act funded transportation project in the nation. Additional improvements include: realigning existing on- and off- ramps, removing, replacing and constructing new bridge and ramp structures, building approximately 18 miles of retaining and sound walls, and performing road improvements on adjacent city streets. When completed, the lane will significantly improve traffic flow for northbound commuters and the project will complete a continuous 72-mile HOV lane, making it the longest HOV lane in the country.
· High Speed Rail: Governor Schwarzenegger submitted a proposal and California received $2.34 billion for the only true high-speed train in the nation, capable of 200-plus miles per hour. California is also further along in planning than any other state in the nation. When the full system is built, it will stretch close to 800 miles, from Sacramento to San Diego.
· Homeless and Rapid Re-Housing Grants Quickly Dispersed: Funding from the federal Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program provides $42.7 million to 31 agencies and local governments in California by the Department of Housing and Community Development. In addition, approximately $150 million will be awarded directly through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to 70 communities. The funding is federally designated to provide short and medium-term rental assistance to individuals and families who are currently in housing but at risk of becoming homeless or homeless.
· Grants to California Transit Operators: Eleven transit operators in California received over $170 million in Transit Capital Assistance. These funds will allow for enhancements, preventative maintenance, construction and updates to facilities and vehicles.
· $34 million in Rural Transit Grants: These grants will be distributed by the California Department of Transportation to 77 rural transit agencies for 141 projects throughout the state. These transit funds will promote and enhance public transportation in rural areas through capital infrastructure investments and to stimulate local economies. The funds will also enable rural transit agencies to construct bus station terminals, improve bus fare collection systems, upgrade safety and surveillance security equipment and purchase over 125 new vehicles.
· Rural Community Facilities: All of the funding will help finance and develop essential community facilities (i.e. hospitals, medical clinics, fire and rescue stations, police stations, public buildings and community centers) for public use in rural areas, particularly essential emergency responder projects. The $6.75 million awarded to California will help support rural communities’ efforts to protect and serve their residents by providing essential public safety services
Health Care Services and Social Net Protections
· Food Stamp Benefits Increase 13.6%: The Recovery Act provides for the 13.6 percent food stamp increase through federal fiscal year 2010. The Act also provides California with approximately $22 million in administrative funding for costs associated with increased food stamp caseloads. The 13.6 percent increase will raise the average monthly food stamp benefit from approximately $300 per household per month to approximately $341 per household
· Additional $25 Added to Benefit Checks: Recipients of Unemployment Insurance benefits received a supplemental payment of $25 per week on top of their regular benefit checks. Workers who filed new claims on or before Dec. 20, 2009 received the $25 additional payment.
· COBRA Expansion: The COBRA and Cal-COBRA programs allow newly unemployed individuals to retain their health care through their previous employer for a period of time. Under new provisions from the Recovery Act, eligible former employees, enrolled in their employer’s health plan at the time they lost their jobs, are required to pay only 35 percent of the cost of COBRA/Cal-COBRA coverage. Employers must treat the 35 percent payment by eligible former employees as full payment; the employers are entitled to a credit for the other 65 percent of the COBRA cost on their federal payroll tax return.
· Expanding Community Health Centers, Serving More Patients: California received an influx of $48.1 million to expand services offered at community health centers. Health centers deliver preventive and primary care services to patients regardless of their ability to pay; charges for services are set according to income. The funds will provide care to an estimated additional 303,474 patients in California over the next two years, including approximately 148,376 uninsured people.
· Health Information Technology: California is receiving more than $100 million to assist health care providers to expand the secure use and exchange of health information technology and train workers for thousands of health care jobs across the state. The grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Labor will allow California to build a foundation to exchange health information across the State that provides safe, secure patient and provider access to health information, while providing job training to thousands of Californians statewide.
Job Training & Rehabilitation:
Governor Schwarzenegger has fought diligently to secure funds to train those who seek to develop skills for the 21st century economy across a broad cross-section of the state with training in the skills they need to move from the unemployment rolls to the payrolls of a wide variety of industries throughout the state.
· $10.7 Million Investment In Job Training: Thirteen agencies throughout California will receive a combined $10.7 million to prepare more than 2,100 people for jobs that employers have designated as in-demand occupations, including network administrators, systems engineers, alternative fuel mechanics, paramedics, pharmacy assistants, home health aides, warehouse specialists and logistics clerks.
· Clean Energy Workforce Training Program: In August, Governor Schwarzenegger launched a $75 million investment establishing the nation’s largest state-sponsored green jobs training program. The program leverages federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, public-private partnerships and state and local funding, to train more than 20,000 new or re-skilled clean energy workers to build a workforce capable of performing the jobs necessary to meet the state’s goals of renewable energy development, climate change reduction, clean transportation and green building construction for a new green economy.
· California Veterans Move Into High Quality Civilian Jobs: $5 million in Recovery Act grants are going to seven projects that bring together government agencies, community-based organizations, veteran service organizations, military installations, mental health agencies and regional One-Stops Career Centers in a collaborative approach. They will provide a broad array of employment services to veterans, including personalized and accelerated services, and training in health care, renewable energy, agribusiness and other regionally identified high-demand industry sectors.
· Bolstering Services at Local Workforce Services Offices and One Stop Centers: To assist workers displaced from their jobs, $415 million in Recovery Act funds will be distributed by the Employment Development Department to 49 local Workforce Investment Boards to help bolster services at the local Workforce Services Offices and One Stop Career Centers, serve workers displaced from their jobs and work to address workforce development priorities. This $415 million in additional Recovery Act funds nearly doubles the amount of Workforce Investment Act funds the federal government has allocated to California in the current fiscal year.
· Adding Health Care Professionals to California’s Work Force: $8 million in Recovery Act funding will go toward Governor Schwarzenegger’s Allied Health Initiative – a $32 million public-private partnership aimed at reducing California’s critical health care worker shortage by adding thousands of additional professionals to California’s hospitals and health care facilities over the next three years.
· California Green Corps: In March, the Governor launched the California Green Corps. Building up communities and the state’s green workforce, the California Green Corps will place at-risk young adults aged 16-24 into jobs in California’s emerging green economy.
· $1.5 Million For Rehabilitation Programs: Grants will benefit transition aged youth (18-25) with disabilities, Native Americans with disabilities, individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury with an emphasis on veterans, and individuals who will benefit from community living options and consumer-directed services as outlined in the Olmstead Decision of 1999.
The Recovery Act provided extraordinary funding for increasing energy efficiency projects for both the public and private sectors. In some cases, the Recovery Act provided for new state programs that had to be built from the ground up.
· $226.1 Million for State Energy Program: The State Energy Program funding will be available for rebates to consumers for home energy audits or other energy saving improvements; development of renewable energy projects for clean electricity generation and alternative fuels; promotion of Energy Star products; efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings; and other innovative state efforts to help save family money on their energy bills. California was the first state in the nation to submit an application for Recovery Act State Energy Program funding.
· $110 Million For Energy Efficiency and Solar Projects: State Energy Program Efficiency Building Retrofit and Municipal Financing Programs will provide a combined $110 million to California local jurisdictions, non-profits and private organizations. This will fund an estimated 1,100 jobs and will help to save money on consumer and commercial utility bills.
· Loan For California Solar Manufacturing Plan: The Governor helped to secure a $535 million loan guarantee for Fremont company Solyndra Inc, which manufactures cylindrical solar photovoltaic panels. The federal funding will finance construction of the first phase of Solyndra’s new manufacturing facility – which the company estimates will create 3,000 construction jobs, eventually employ approximately 1,000 direct and indirect workers and provide enough clean renewable energy to power 24,000 homes a year through the first phase of annual solar production.
· Renewable Energy Projects: Fifty-three proposed projects will apply for Recovery Act funds and will break ground by the end of 2010. For those proposed projects looking for federal stimulus support, 22 could generate power at utility-sized levels of larger than 200 MW, totaling more than 9,000 MW. Many of the proposed projects are currently moving through a state, federal or local permitting process.
· $17.8 Million For California Data Centers and Telecommunication Industry: California received funding to reduce energy consumption for data centers and telecommunications systems. The infusion of stimulus funding into California totals approximately 75 percent of the $47 million awarded nationwide.
· $175 Million For Smart Grid Projects: The nearly $175 million award is part of a larger $620 million pot of Recovery Act funds for Smart Grid projects around the country. The California projects, ranging from wind, battery and underground compressed energy storage systems to regional Smart Grid demonstrations, are leveraging the Recovery Act funds with more than $404 million in private sector funds.
· State Buildings Plug Into Smart Grid: $25 millionwill be made available through the revolving loan to retrofit antiquated energy systems in state office buildings. Included in this project is a 78,000-square-foot, LEED Gold rated facility – the largest of its kind in the western United States – and is the main conduit for heating, cooling and providing air control to 23 other state buildings including the Capitol.
· Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant program: This program will provide formula grants for projects that reduce total energy use and fossil fuel emissions, and improve energy efficiency. The California Energy Commission estimates that energy efficiency investments from this program can save 61.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 22,541 tons, save local jurisdictions in excess of $9 million per year and create over 500 new jobs for local communities. California will receive $351.6 million for state, county and city efforts.
· Ultra-Low Interest Loans for Energy Efficiency Projects: The Energy Commission allocated $25 million in Recovery funding from the State Energy Program to implement the low-interest loan program. The Energy Commission will provide loans with a first-time ever low interest rate of one percent to promote green workforce development, building energy efficiency retrofits and clean-energy – the areas identified as the most effective ways to stimulate the economy and create a SEP with long lasting energy benefits. The Energy Commission estimates that retrofitting California’s aged and inefficient residential and non-residential structures could save the state’s consumers 2.7 billion Btu annually and create more than 2,100 jobs.
· $308 million for Hydrogen Energy Project: The U.S. Department of Energy announced $308 million in Recovery Act funding for Hydrogen Energy International to move forward with its Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) project in Bakersfield, CA. When built, HECA will bring clean power to over 150,000 homes in the local community, create new jobs and avoid the emissions of more than two million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year.
· Race To The Top Application Submitted For Up To $1 Billion in Federal Education Funds: Governor signed legislation making California eligible to submit a competitive application for Race To The Top and which details the statewide plan – strongly supported by over 800 local education agencies representing more than 3.6 million students – to implement the strategies and reforms necessary to fulfill Race to the Top requirements.
· Governor Submits State’s Application for $490 Million for Schools & Universities: Under Governor Schwarzenegger’s leadership, California was the first state in the nation to be federally approved for State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF). SFSF is a one-time allocation of $53.6 billion made available to states under the Recovery Act intended to assist in stabilizing state and local government budgets in order to minimize and avoid reductions in education and other essential public services. Through the Governor’s leadership, California received over $3.1 billion in the spring of 2009, as well as an additional grant of $1.3 billion in the fall of 2009. These funding awards make up 90 percent of the total amount available under SFSF for both K-12 and higher education.
· Title I Schools and Special Education Local Plan Areas: Additional Title 1 funds will further help schools with high concentrations of students from families that live in poverty improve teaching and learning for students most at risk of failing to meet state academic achievement standards. California has been awarded $1.1 billion in these funds.
· Governor Issues Executive Order For Head Start Funds: Governor Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-23-09 establishing the California State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care to ensure California’s eligibility to compete for a share of $100 million in federal Head Start funds available through the Recovery Act.
· Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) tax credits: QSCB provides federal income tax credits in lieu of interest to lenders who purchase bonds from eligible school districts. With the federal government covering most or all of the interest on the bonds, school districts will receive a substantial benefit because interest payments typically equal about 50 percent of the economic cost of a bond. California’s share is an estimated $2.7 billion over the life of the Recovery Act.
· $71.6 Million Grant From The Enhancing Education Through Technology: Once distributed by the California Department of Education, school districts may use this funding to integrate technology into the instructional delivery, support professional development for teachers on the use of instructional technologies, support the use of achievement and performance data to inform instruction and develop public-private partnerships.
· McKinney-Vento ARRA Federal Funds to Help Homeless Students:
The McKinney-Vento funds are provided to assist schools in addressing the educational and related needs of homeless students. Schools can use the funds for programs for pre-school-aged homeless children; before and after-school programs, mentoring, and summer programs with educational activities. The funds also can be used to cover costs associated with tracking, obtaining, and transferring records of homeless children as well as other services.
· Equipment Assistance for National School Lunch Program: 242 School Food Authorities in 48 California counties will share more than $12.8 million in 2009 Equipment Assistance Grants. This funding is critically needed by districts and other agencies to buy new or replace outdated and inefficient food preparation equipment so they may boost the amount and quality of meals offered to California students
Weatherization & Broadband:
· Low-Income Home Weatherization: The Recovery Act allocated $68 million in weatherization funding to non-profit, local government and community action agencies throughout the state. After demonstrating successful implementation of this phase of the weatherization program, California will receive an additional federal award of over $92 million, for a total of more than $185 million. This stimulus money will directly benefit more than 40,000 low-income California households with weatherization services designed to increase energy efficiency and save money on utility bills. It also creates good jobs with weather stripping, caulking, insulation, and other measures designed to promote energy efficiency.
· Broadband Mapping and Planning: Under the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program $2.3 million to collect information on broadband service availability in the state and create an interactive web-based map that will give California residents the ability to access information about the services and providers available at their own address. State and federal policymakers will also be able to use this information to analyze the status of broadband deployment in California and across the nation, and to develop broadband policies aimed at making advanced services available everywhere, regardless of issues such as urban/rural location or income.
· Legislation To Expand Small Business Opportunities:Specifically, AB 31 expands an existing streamlined contracting process called the SB/DVBE Option to enhance small business (SB) and disabled veteran business enterprise (DVBE) participation in state contracts. Current law allows state departments to contract directly with these firms for goods and services contracts or purchases between $5,000 and $100,000 and up to $147,000 for public works contracts. AB 31 increases the allowable thresholds in both areas to $250,000.
Water & Environment
· Clean Water State Revolving Fund: Under the stimulus program the State Water Board is handling $270.5 million in addition to more than $200 million normally loaned by the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) each year. These funds are going towards a variety of projects assisting local communities in preventing and cleaning up water pollution and protecting public health and the environment. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund concentrates on wastewater (sewer) projects and treatment plants.
· Recycled Water Projects: The U.S. Department of Interior awarded California 98 percent of Recovery Act funding for water recycling and reuse projects in the West. Of the $134.3 million released, California water agencies received $131.8 million of this funding for 26 projects. The funding will be provided through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Water Reclamation and Reuse Program. Approximately 70 percent of the projects are located in Southern California and cover a broad range of recycling, reuse and recovery activities which met federal criteria for funding.
· Addressing California’s Long-Term Water Supply Challenges and Drought Conditions: California has received $260 million to help address its long-term water supply challenges and devastating drought conditions. This include:
o $40 million for immediate emergency drought relief in the West, specifically in California. These investments will allow for the installation of groundwater wells to boost water supplies to agricultural and urban contractors, the facilitation of the delivery of Federal water to Reclamation contractors through water transfers and exchanges, and the installation of rock barriers in the Sacramento Delta to meet water quality standards during low flows
o $109.8 million to build a screened pumping plant at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam to protect fish populations while delivering water to agricultural users irrigating approximately 150,000 acres
· Rural Water Projects: California has received $13.8 million as loans and grants to ensure that the necessary investments are made in water and wastewater infrastructure to deliver safe drinking water and protect the environment in rural areas.
· Cleaning Up Contaminated, Underground Storage Tanks: The state water board received $15.6 million to clean up petroleum contamination from leaking underground storage tanks at abandoned properties. California is receiving more funding from the Recovery Act Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund, than any other state in the country. The funds will protect the environment and create approximately 100 jobs.
· National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program: California was awarded $25,403,971 million to replace, repower and retrofit engines in buses, heavy-duty trucks, locomotives, agricultural vehicles, construction vehicles, and cargo handling equipment in metropolitan Los Angeles, the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, San Diego, the San Joaquin Valley, and the Bay Area. These clean diesel projects will create jobs while protecting California’s air quality.
· Improving Water Services for Indian Tribes: Seven tribes in California will have improved access to vital water services through funds from the Recovery Act. The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Indian Health Service announced $90 million nationwide in ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure projects designed to better protect human and environmental health in Indian Country.
· Coastal Restoration: $31.1 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce for wetlands, fisheries and habitat restoration projects, split among nine coastal restoration projects.
· $415 Million in Port, Transit and Firefighter Assistance Grants: These grants are for port and transit security initiatives, as well as fire station construction. The port grants will protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, particularly attacks using explosives and non-conventional threats that could cause major disruption to commerce. Firefighter Assistance grants will improve response capability/capacity of fire stations through the construction, renovation or modification of fire stations.
· Over $211 Million to Hire, Rehire Police Officers: 109 law enforcement agencies in California were awarded more than 21 percent of the $1 billion available for the COPS Hiring Recovery Program for the purpose of hiring and rehiring 649 police officers. Each grant covers 100 percent of the approved entry-level salary and benefits for sworn officers over a 36-month period.
For a full report on Recovery Act spending by state entities through September 30th, please visit recovery.ca.gov/Content/Documents/RecoveryActOversightPlan.2010.01.25.pdf .
Governor Schwarzenegger created the California Recovery Task Force to track the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding coming into the state; work with President Barack Obama’s administration; help cities, counties, non-profits, and others access the available funding; ensure that the funding funneled through the state is spent efficiently and effectively; and maintain a Web site that is frequently and thoroughly updated for Californians to be able to track the stimulus dollars.