Virginia A Model Of Transparency for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

GOVERNOR KAINE KICKS OFF NEXT PHASE OF STIMULUS.VIRGINIA.GOV

~ Revamped model site to provide ongoing information on recovery plan allocations and projects ~

RICHMOND —Governor Timothy M. Kaine today launched an overhauled Stimulus.Virginia.Gov, transforming the state’s original, pioneering website into Virginia’s comprehensive online portal for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). With the conclusion of the project solicitation phase of the Commonwealth’s program to implement the recovery plan, the website is transitioning to present a wide range of information related to the ARRA—including maps, graphs, charts, and downloadable tables that allow citizens to see where proposals have originated, where money is flowing, and what specific projects and geographies are benefiting from recovery plan funding.

“In Virginia —just as in other states across the country—we’ve made transparency and accountability a core part of our program to implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” Governor Kaine said. “As we work to build a stronger economic future for Virginia ,  the redesigned Stimulus.Virginia.Gov will be a central tool to ensure Virginians can see where funds are being used and how the recovery plan is working in our state.”

Virginia will receive approximately $4.8 billion in direct appropriations from the ARRA—not including tax cuts, which will aid Virginia citizens directly. In addition, a large amount of additional funds will be in the form of competitive grants that have yet to be awarded. These grants may be awarded to a wide range of groups, including state agencies and institutions of higher education, local governments, quasi-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, and private companies. White House economists estimate the recovery plan will create or save 93,000 jobs in Virginia over the next two years.

Given the ARRA’s unprecedented requirements on disclosure and reporting the use of funding, State Comptroller David Von Moll will be working to ensure Virginia state agencies and institutions of higher education meet all reporting requirements to the federal government, including:

· How funds are being used;

· Descriptions and status reports on stimulus-related projects;

· Estimates of jobs saved or created by federal stimulus activities; and

· Estimates of tax increases averted because of federal stimulus funds.

The revamped Stimulus.Virginia.Gov website mirrors the principles of Recovery.gov by posting this disclosure information as it becomes available. This additional reporting allows Virginians to monitor how the recovery plan is working throughout the state and ensure tax dollars are being spent productively and responsibly. The site will show all available ARRA funds by Cabinet Secretariat, and map expenditures by locality and will be updated on a continual basis.

Virginia was among the first states in the nation to launch a website dedicated to offering citizens, community groups, and localities a voice in the recovery plan process. Between February 10 and March 6, Stimulus.Virginia.Gov received more than 9,000 project ideas, totaling $450 billion, including:

  Transportation – more than $180 billion of projects submitted.

  Education –     $14.4 billion of K-12 schools projects

$7.9 billion of K-12 construction projects

$1.6 billion of Higher Education projects

$654 million of High Education infrastructure projects

$2.5 billion of Higher Education construction projects

  Health Information Technology – 178 projects submitted, $1 billion. Following a Health IT town hall hosted by Secretary of Health and Human Resources Marilyn Tavenner and Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra, project proposals related to technology increased by nearly ten-fold.

  Broadband infrastructure – 324 projects submitted, $8.8 billion. Submissions are expected to be useful to service providers who can now see what communities are organizing to attract broadband service.

  Water Projects/Environmental Infrastructure – $28.6 billion of projects submitted.

Over the next few weeks, the Governor’s working group on stimulus funds will continue routing these projects to the appropriate Cabinet Secretariat for review and evaluation. Ultimately, recommendations around potential projects will be presented to Governor Kaine, who is expected to make final decisions on recovery plan allocations in early April.

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