Wednesday, March 4, 2009

You can call it ARRA or you can call it 'stimulus' ...

How many of us six months ago would have guessed the word, "stimulus," would come to mean so much to our nation. Raise your hands ... be honest. Right. That's what I guessed.

Stimulus, the investment by the federal government in infrastructure, promises to be a critically important phase in the history of our nation and our state.

To that end, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (a.k.a., stimulus) promises new standards for how citizens can track their dollars. At WSDOT, we have been working hard for several years to become more transparent and accountable.

Every project we build has a project web page. We publish a quarterly report, called the Gray Notebook, that tracks hundreds of activities and programs throughout WSDOT. We participate in the Governor's Management Accountability Program (GMAP).

We aren't perfect. And this thing we're calling stimulus promises to make us better. But perhaps WSDOT won't have as far to go to find greater public accountability in the ARRA era.

4 comments:

Troy said...

I was underwhelmed to see that http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/News/2009/03/13_I5SR520WeekendConstruction.htm lists the number of "jobs generated" as one of the key metrics of the project.

That shouldn't even be a consideration, let alone one important enough to include in a press release. If anything, it should be disclosed to show how little labor was wasted -- the goal is efficiency, not maximum employment and cost.

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of the funds from the stimulus going towards asphalt resurfacing. These types of projects I'm sure are needed, however I feel it would create more jobs with the same funds if WSDOT chose to build more bridge projects.

Jared said...

I've always appreciated the transparency and how informative our DOT tries to be, and it becomes very apparent if you look at some of the other states' sites.
As far as the stimulus money DOT is getting, I believe the money should be contributed solely to underfunded projects. I'm sure projects that are on the list of things to do are important, but I think when design is lacking do to insufficient funds, we lose out even more.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

The Whitehouse site links to a downloadable pdf file of the ARRA. It can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/arra_public_review/

Section 3 of the ARRA is cited below.

------ Section 3 ARRA ------

SEC. 3. PURPOSES AND PRINCIPLES.
(a) STATEMENT OF PURPOSES.—The purposes of this Act include
the following: H. R. 1—2
(1) To preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery.
(2) To assist those most impacted by the recession.
(3) To provide investments needed to increase economic
efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health.
(4) To invest in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits.
(5) To stabilize State and local government budgets, in order to minimize and avoid reductions in essential services and counterproductive state and local tax increases.

-----------------

It may be that the money could be used more effectively, but it is being used as proscribed by the Federal government.