Folks it’s time to get vigilant and watch where these dollars go. The Patrick Administration announced its plans for spending $8 billion in ARRA funding. Of course most of it will go to state agencies with a portion going to cities and towns. There’s no talk about using the more competitive federal prevailing wage rather than the inflated state prevailing wage. There’s been some discussion about using anti-competitive pro-union project labor agreements (echoes of the Big Dig). And there’s much talk about funding education.
Jeffrey A. Simon, the state’s new director of infrastructure investment, has a stack of 8,300 “shovel-ready” projects on his desk amounting to $27 billion in spending. Even though Simon has just $2 billion to spend thanks to the federal stimulus bill, he said the window to apply for funds hasn’t closed.
Simon, who spoke Wednesday in Boston at a meeting of real estate professionals, said Gov. Deval Patrick wants to ensure the billions in federal funding awarded to the state is spread evenly. Simon said there is not enough money to go around and the governor is trying to be as equitable as possible.
“He’s extremely concerned that all of these funds be put out in a way that recognizes that there are issues and people hurting all over the commonwealth,” Simon said of Patrick.
Simon said of the 8,300 application he received, about 4,000 were from state agencies and the other 4,300 were from cities and towns. While the list of “shovel-ready” projects are wish lists, Simon said there are many good projects on the list that simply won’t get funded.
“There just plain won’t be enough money to meet all those needs,” he said.
Here’s the rest of the story from the Boston Business Journal.
The Mass Recovery and Reinvestment web site is here. Let’s hold the guardians accountable!