Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Press Release - One Year Anniversary, Praises Recovery Act

OFFICE OF GOV. BILL RITTER, JR.
WWW.COLORADO.GOV/GOVERNOR 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 17, 2010

CONTACT
Myung Oak Kim, 303.947.5708, myung.kim@state.co.us
 
ON ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY, GOV. RITTER PRAISES RECOVERY ACT
 
Marking the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s one-year anniversary, Gov. Bill Ritter today praised the landmark legislation for preventing a second Great Depression, preserving and creating 1.5 million to 2 million jobs nationwide and helping to get America’s economy healthy again.
 
“Across Colorado and across the country, the Recovery Act is fulfilling its promise of improving the economy and allowing the nation to recover from the worst downturn in generations,” said Gov. Ritter, who helped introduce President Obama when he signed the Act into law at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on Feb. 17, 2009.
 
“The Act is keeping people on the job,” Gov. Ritter said. “It’s keeping the doors of small businesses open. It’s improving our infrastructure, keeping the safety net from collapsing and providing tax cuts, unemployment benefits, job training, healthcare and education opportunities for our children. And there is much more to come.”
 
Earlier today, the federal government announced a $10 million transportation grant for Colorado to fight congestion and improve U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder, including the addition of a bus transit lane in each direction and a commuter bikeway.
 
Colorado is expected to receive $6.7 billion from the Recovery Act, with an estimated 33,000 jobs saved or created so far by the Act statewide. Two-thirds of allocated Recovery Act funds remain to be spent.
 
Over the past year in Colorado, the Recovery Act has:
 

  • Put more money in the pockets of 1.8 million working families through the Making Work Pay tax cut.
  • Prevented drastic cuts in public colleges and universities through more than $520 million in budget stabilizing funds allocated by Gov. Ritter, which preserved about 3,400 full-time equivalent jobs.
  • Maintained medical services to the poor and prevented the elimination of the Children’s Health Plan Plus program, which serves 65,000 women and children.
  • Helped more than 1,500 low-income homeowners and renters reduce their utility costs through weatherization improvements done by agencies that hired hundreds of workers.
  • Provided more than 600 loans with lower fees to small businesses.
  • Provided almost $600 million in contracts to 125 Colorado companies.
  • Funded about 50 roadway projects that are underway or completed and employed more than 13,000 people.
  • Funded 31 projects that will improve drinking water and wastewater systems that affect more than 200,000 households.
  • Provided extra food stamp benefits to more than 370,000 people.
  • Preserved almost 1,700 full-time jobs at state correctional facilities.
  • Given additional tuition aid to 52,000 low-income college students.

 
The Recovery Act also has preserved and created thousands of jobs and provided funding to communities for important projects that they could not previously be financed, including:
 

  • The City of Pueblo will build a new fire station to replace one that was built during the Great Depression and severely damaged by termites. Using a $2.7 million Recovery Act grant, the fire department will be able to improve response times and serve a growing population center in the southwest section of the city. “This came in the nick of time. The stimulus allows us to complete a mission-critical project. This is the largest amount of grant money in the history of the fire department,” said Pueblo Fire Chief Chris Riley.
  • The Peetz Telephone Cooperative in northeast Colorado will be able to stay in business and provide, for the first time, high-speed Internet to the community through a $1.5 million Recovery Act grant. Until now, the residents in Peetz and the surrounding towns had few options for Internet access and no options for broadband service. The grant gives the community a chance to grow and modernize their technology. "The three-year project isn’t just critical to the community. It gives the telephone company a future," said Brent Davis, the company’s Internet manager.
  • Thirteen local police departments are hiring 23 police officers with $5 million in Recovery Act grants. The largest grant went to the City of Grand Junction for five new officers. The police department hired two officers in early December and is in the process of hiring three more. Deputy Police Chief John Zen said the $1.3 million grant allows the department to return to full staffing levels. By adding these new officers to the patrol division, the department will be able to move officers to investigative positions that have been vacant. “This grant will allow us to serve the community better,” said Deputy Chief Zen.

 
The Recovery Act was designed to roll out in stages to create a lasting, sustained economic recovery. Immediately after the Recovery Act was signed into law, increased safety net benefits and tax cuts began for the benefit of millions of struggling families. The next stage was funding scores of infrastructure projects like highway and water system improvements. And the final stage includes investments in growth industries, including green energy, health care information technology and high-speed Internet.
 
For more information about the Recovery Act in Colorado, visit www.colorado.gov/recovery.