Friday, February 13, 2009

How will Connecticut leverage the Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars?

Congress passed the final stimulus act today. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act includes resources that can be wielded to advance smart growth goals here and across the nation. The act also includes major new transparency and accountability requirements, so we’ll be better able to track how Connecticut deploys its infusion of federal money. Nationally, the act provides the following:

  • $2.5B through HOME and Low Income Tax Credits for affordable housing gap financing;

  • $1B for Community Development Block Grant Funds (often used for streetscapes and affordable housing);
  • $27.5B for highway investments (We’ll have to work to include complete streets provisions to this funding.);
  • $8.4B for public transportation;
  • $1.5B for competitive grants to state and local governments for transportation investments;
  • $9.3B for rail transportation, including Amtrak, high speed and inter city rail;
  • $4B for public housing capital ;
  • $2B to redevelop abandoned and foreclosed homes;
  • $6B for environmental clean up of former weapon production and energy research sites;
  • $6B for clean and drinking water infrastructure improvements;
  • $1.2B to the Environmental Protection Agency for environmental cleanup, including Superfund.

Connecticut’s share of the following will help stave off the need for further property tax increases.

  • $53.6 B in state fiscal stabilization, including $39.5 B for local school districts, $5 B for education bonus grants, $8.8 B for public safety, education, modernization and renovation and repairs for public school facilities and institutions of higher education facilities;
  • $13 B for Title 1 to close the achievement gap;
  • $12.2 B for special education.

We need sufficient, targeted, state capital investments in brownfield remediation & reuse, transit, transit oriented development, and affordable housing to leverage Connecticut’s share of the federal recovery funds and bring our economy back!

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