Nearly two years ago, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law. Over 27-months, the legislation aimed to provide an estimated $800 billion in total funding to various recipients to “jumpstart our economy, save and create millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century.” In addition, the Recovery Act required unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability from all funding recipients.
Massachusetts has met the challenges set by the Recovery Act, and the Commonwealth’s economy is emerging faster and stronger than other states. Governor Patrick directed all state agencies to pursue all available Recovery Act funding and to implement that funding as aggressively—yet strategically—as possible.
The Recovery Act was designed to be a short-term stimulus program that would help the people of the United States weather the worst recession since the 1930s. It aimed to accomplish this by helping states and communities preserve jobs and services while also helping individuals by creating jobs and providing a safety net to help individuals through these difficult times.
In February 2009, when the Recovery Act was signed into law, unemployment was rising steadily. The number of new applicants was rapidly climbing. States were slashing budgets due to revenue collections falling dramatically. Services at all levels of government were being cut. Progress in public elementary, secondary, and higher education was severely challenged. And just the month before, the country had lost 800,000 jobs.
In January 2011, unemployment numbers continue to fall and the number of people filing for unemployment assistance for the first time is decreasing. The US Labor Department has said that consumer spending is growing, incomes are rising, and the economy is adding jobs. Here in Massachusetts, unemployment fell to around 8 percent in December. Tax receipts in 2010 were up by $882 million, a gain of 10%, and sales tax receipts for December alone were up by $26 million over December 2009, a gain of almost 6%.
The state created over 40,000 jobs in 2010 alone, giving Massachusetts the fourth highest rate of job creation in the nation and an unemployment rate well below the national average. The Massachusetts economy is growing at twice the national growth rate and climbing out of the recession faster and stronger than any other state in the nation.
The Recovery Act was intended to serve as a bridge from difficult to better economic times. It has undoubtedly accomplished that goal, providing paychecks for over 69,000 individuals in Massachusetts alone. Reflecting Governor Patrick’s commitment to education, over half of these jobs were for teachers, school administrators, and other educational professionals.
Over the past year, the Patrick-Murray Administration has invested billions of dollars from the Recovery Act to stabilize the state budget to maintain essential services to our most vulnerable citizens, made strategic decisions to expand and upgrade our infrastructure. Through the Recovery Act and other key programs, the administration has invested in education, health care and job creation—because educating our children, having dependable health care, and holding steady work is the path to a better future.
In September 2010, Massachusetts won the national Race to the Top competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education—achieving the highest score of any state—bringing $250 million in Recovery Act funds to continue Massachusetts’ leadership in education innovation and reform.
The Recovery Act has spurred investments in our infrastructure and put construction workers back on the job, as well as increased investments in our workers by funding job training programs across the state. These programs have provided services for over 3 million beneficiaries across Massachusetts from Pittsfield to Plymouth.
In short, the Recovery Act is working and continues to benefit the citizens of Massachusetts.
To date, Massachusetts has been awarded $7.1 billion in Recovery Act funds directly through state agencies, with additional funds received by others. The Governor tasked the Executive Office for Administration and Finance (ANF) with coordinating the management of ARRA funds across their lifecycle. ANF has established a dedicated program management office – the Massachusetts Recovery and Reinvestment Office (MassRRO). The MassRRO has been central to the Commonwealth’s efforts in achieving accountability and transparency in the management of ARRA funds.
The table below displays a summary of Recovery Act awards and spending through state agencies from February 17, 2009 through December 31, 2010. All figures are rounded to the nearest million dollars.
|Funding Category||Awarded to State Agencies||Total Committed||Expended|
|Awards Subject to 1512 Reporting to the Federal Government|
|Clean Energy and Environment||237,000,000||199,000,000||118,000,000|
|Public Safety and Homeland Security||43,000,000||38,000,000||33,000,000|
|Safety Net Programs||22,000,000||17,000,000||11,000,000|
|Technology and Research||90,000,000||51,000,000||38,000,000|
|Awards Not Subject to 1512 Reporting to the Federal Government|
|Clean Energy and Environment||7,000,000||6,000,000||6,000,000|
|Safety Net Programs||3,978,000,000||3,702,000,000||3,700,000,000|
|Technology and Research||227,000||209,000||208,000|
Closely aligned with Governor Patrick’s priorities and initiatives, the Recovery legislation has three goals:
Stimulate the Economy
Governor Patrick directed state agencies to apply for every dollar of ARRA funding available to Massachusetts, in order to maximize the employment impact. The administration is investing ARRA funds in housing and transportation infrastructure projects that create and retain construction jobs, education programs that create and retain jobs for teachers, and health care programs that create and retain jobs for doctors, nurses, and other professionals. Many of the recovery programs require the services of vendors, including some from the private sector, which help to diversify spending across the state and maximize funds going to Massachusetts based companies.
Within the rules of the individual grant programs, the administration has directed ARRA investments to a broad range of projects, programs, and locations, to ensure equity across both industries and communities throughout the state.
Invest for the Long Term
Beyond short-term job creation and retention, Massachusetts is working to leverage ARRA funds to invest for long-term economic growth. These forward-looking investments are targeted toward six goals:
Maintaining our Commitment to Education
Fulfilling a deeply held commitment to educational opportunity and closing the achievement gap, Governor Patrick has used ARRA funds to stabilize education budgets in Fiscal Years 2009, 2010 and 2011. The administration is maintaining and enhancing access to educational opportunities for all students in the Commonwealth by making investments in innovation and programmatic and infrastructure improvements. Additionally, the Governor and legislature enacted an education reform bill that improved the Commonwealth’s competitive edge in the US Department of Education’s Race to the Top program, which Massachusetts won in September 2010.
Investing in Clean Energy
ARRA is assisting with Governor Patrick’s goal to maximize the state’s investment in clean energy for cost savings, energy independence, and jobs. ARRA funds are allowing the Commonwealth to invest in solar energy technology, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy in clean water and drinking water management, and increase energy efficiency at state and municipal government buildings. ARRA funds are also at work improving energy efficiency in the homes of low- and moderate-income residents across Massachusetts.
Protecting Health Care for the Long Term
Nearly $4 billion in ARRA awards have been critical to maintaining the state’s health care and Safety Net programs. Stimulus funds have helped expand and preserve unemployment insurance, provide much-needed employment training and services, and boost the state’s Medicaid fund. With ARRA help, the state has been able to continue providing universal health care and protect social services for our most vulnerable citizens to help them through this economic downturn. During this term, the Governor also plans to focus much energy on health care cost containment so that we can continue providing invaluable health care services to those in need for many years to come.
Upgrading our Statewide Transportation Network
While the ARRA funds have been critical in supporting state and local operating budgets, preserving healthcare, education and other vital safety net services, there are targeted ARRA funds for strategic infrastructure investments. Hundreds of millions of dollars in ARRA funds for various projects are maintaining and improving Massachusetts’ roads, bridges, and transit systems, including a $20 million Recovery Act grant to rehabilitate rail bridges in New Bedford. The Commonwealth has won competitive grants to improve ports and rail stations, as well as for upgrading our high-speed rail network. Moreover, we are targeting our public infrastructure investments to support economic development projects, leveraging federal dollars to stimulate long term private investment in Massachusetts that will create sustainable jobs for the long-term.
Investing in our Communities
ARRA programs are also supporting the Commonwealth’s efforts to invest in our communities. Public safety grants have enabled municipalities to retain much needed police officers and firefighters, which helps to sustain key personnel that are needed for core services such as one of the Governor’s main priorities this term – reducing youth violence.
Housing-related ARRA funds have cleaned up properties in troubled neighborhoods, created new affordable housing, made our homes more energy-efficient, and supported community development projects. Tax credits and other federal incentives have increased the availability of affordable housing in Massachusetts.
Investing in Innovative Technology
Finally, with the help of ARRA, Massachusetts has continued to invest in innovative technologies to keep the state on the cutting edge of the economy. We have won competitive grants to expand and enhance the statewide broadband infrastructure to ensure full access to the information network, including $45.4 million for MassBroadband 123. This project, which will ramp up during this fiscal year, will construct approximately 1,100 miles of new fiber-optic cable to connect homes and businesses, as well as community anchor institutions, including community colleges, public safety institutions, hospitals and libraries across Western Massachusetts. New investments in community health centers—nearly $165 million—and electronic health records are allowing the health care industry in this state to remain at the forefront of technology, provide the most innovative health care to our residents, and remain in the vanguard of the industry for years to come.
Deliver Meaningful Accountability
Governor Patrick has made transparency a top priority in the Commonwealth’s handling of the stimulus funds. The Commonwealth’s website, www.mass.gov/recovery, is frequently updated with information about how stimulus dollars are being spent across every region of Massachusetts. In an effort to increase the level of transparency available to Massachusetts residents, the Governor has required state agencies to report data that goes beyond what is required by the federal government.
Before the first stimulus dollar arrived in Massachusetts, Governor Patrick made it clear that there would be a higher standard of transparency and accountability for stimulus funds. To that end, he tasked the Massachusetts Recovery and Reinvestment Office (MassRRO) with coordinating the Commonwealth’s ARRA efforts. The MassRRO has worked closely with executive branch agencies, resulting in a higher level of transparency than ever provided for a government program in the history of Massachusetts government.
At the same time, the Governor has also made the prevention of fraud, waste and abuse a top priority. Agencies responsible for handling stimulus funds have received guidance on how to improve their fraud, waste and abuse prevention efforts in the face of unprecedented scrutiny. Additionally, work has been undertaken to spread awareness of existing fraud, waste and abuse reporting mechanisms, including state and federal hotlines and online at www.recovery.gov and www.mass.gov/recovery.
Cooperation from the Inspector General, Attorney General, and State Auditor has created a formidable safeguard to ensure the integrity of ARRA spending.
ARRA PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides educators with the opportunity to address some of the most pressing challenges in our public education system and invest in the future of the Commonwealth. ARRA education funding supports our ongoing efforts to ensure that all Massachusetts students will be prepared to reach their full potential.
Massachusetts has and will continue to invest ARRA funds to:
From June 2009 through today, Governor Patrick has strategically allocated almost $1 billion in State Fiscal Stabilization funding to school districts and our public institutions of higher education. The funding has been used to stabilize budgets during the fiscal crisis; directly support teachers, faculty, administrators, and staff across the state; preserve the high-quality of educational and other services provided to students; and support capital improvements especially at our public institutions of higher education. These programs will end this year, but the normal Chapter 70 allocation through the state General Fund will fill any gaps left behind by the end of State Fiscal Stabilization funds from the Recovery Act. Some programs, such as Race to the Top, will continue to have spending through 2014.
We have allocated $163 million in additional Title I funding and $297 million in additional Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding to provide greater support for students living in poverty and students receiving special education services. Title I funding is being spent in 258 districts that serve over 200,000 eligible students; IDEA funding is being in spent in 389 districts that serve over 165,000 school age (ages 3-21) students, and also in 179 districts that serve 9,000 children in preschool programs (birth to age 2). These funds represent increases of 67% and over 100% respectively for Title I and IDEA funds over past years.
Race to the Top
Massachusetts is the national leader in education reform and improvement efforts. In the recent Race to the Top competition, Massachusetts’ application received the top score out of those submitted by 46 states and the District of Columbia. The U.S. Department of Education awarded $250 million to the Commonwealth that will fund four major initiatives: (1) Implement ambitious and statewide reform initiatives related to adopting rigorous standards and assessments; (2) Build and sustain a high-quality educator workforce; (3) Rapidly improve our lowest-performing schools; and (4) Create robust data systems to track student and teacher performance.
With Race to the Top Funding, in four years, Massachusetts will have:
By working to achieve objectives in educator effectiveness, curriculum and instruction, school turnaround, college and career readiness, and data systems and infrastructure, the Race to the Top initiatives will make our schools well positioned and well-prepared to offer our children a top-notch education that will prepare them for success in college, careers, and life in the 21st century.
In addition to Race to the Top, Massachusetts has won other competitive ARRA education funding, including:
Education Jobs Fund
In September 2010, Congress provided states with more financial support for education through the Education Jobs Fund. Massachusetts received $204 million from this $10 billion education fund, which will support education jobs in elementary, secondary, and higher education during the 2010-2011 school year. Between October 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010, this program supported over 980 educator positions in Massachusetts.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Departments within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EHS) have been awarded $31.1 million in direct ARRA grants with $11 million remaining to be spent in the balance of FY11 and into FY12. EHS departments also administer over $3 billion in Safety Net funding, including increased Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) payments and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. The funded projects assist disadvantaged populations to secure or retain employment, provide resources to support and expand local public health infrastructure, and deliver a range of resources for families hardest hit by the recession.
Investing in Public Health
The Department of Public Health (DPH) has been able to invest over $1 million in ARRA financing to support the development of a statewide immunization system. Funds will be used to develop a mechanism for schools and other public sites to receive reimbursement from health insurers for the cost of administering vaccines. This funding will increase access to vaccines and immunization services for high-risk adolescents and adults through outreach and enrollment, enabling non-traditional providers to receive vaccines.
Additionally, through $8.5 million in ARRA funding, DPH was able to maintain program eligibility for the Early Intervention program during this time of severe fiscal constraints. The funding ensured access to services for 7,500 infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities, helping facilitate their healthy development.
Protecting Our Most Vulnerable Citizens
ARRA increased funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps), allowing the Commonwealth to serve over 392,000 families (726,000 individuals). ARRA included $7 million to help the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) hire 86 new staff to process SNAP applications and provide enhanced customer service. DTA administers over $90 million in SNAP benefits each month.
Over $2.1 million in ARRA funds have supported the delivery of home meals and other nutrition support services for elders. These resources go directly to families in the Commonwealth who are impacted by the recession and are working to care for their elders in home settings on stretched family finances.
These funds have supported the provision of thousands of meals to elders over the past year.
The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind is using $1.9 million in ARRA funding to provide independent living support services and vocational rehabilitation programs, which are an integral part of a statewide workforce investment system.
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) received $6 million in ARRA funding to support programs for disabled citizens. These programs include, among others, an On-The-Job Training Initiative (OJT) to rapidly develop individualized, employer- and industry-specific job training opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This public-private partnership between MRC and employers creates private industry job training opportunities for disabled individuals in the high-growth areas of health care, transportation, manufacturing, and customer services. To date, 67 OJT trainings have resulted in 26 employment placements.
Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP)
ARRA and subsequent federal jobs legislation increased the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) received for Medicaid payments in Massachusetts to 61.59%, from a pre-ARRA level of 50%. These funds have allowed the state to maintain critical health-care services for our citizens. FMAP dollars allowed many budget areas in the Commonwealth to experience a smaller reduction than would have been possible without FMAP funds, and also allowed for a modest increase in spending in some areas. For example, although the MassHealth program did not increase reimbursement rates for the majority of providers, it was able to sustain eligibility for an increased caseload of 1.2 million members in fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2010.
However, FMAP dollars are intended to not only sustain critical services and benefit levels within many of our health related programs, but they also support statewide spending on services that benefit all of the citizens of the Commonwealth. Under state law, ARRA FMAP funds are deposited into the General Fund and support the entire operating budget.
The enhanced FMAP funds expire June 30, 2011. The loss of these one-time federal funds will put additional pressure on the state’s budget. The Governor’s budget includes the difficult decisions he has made to address this fiscal reality.
Massachusetts has set itself apart by choosing to fund transportation projects that will have both short and long-term economic impacts – investing in projects like a regional transit center, multi-use paths and park and ride lots that build stronger, healthier communities. The state has also focused, particularly in the second round of funding, on projects that will result in direct investment by the private sector. As such, ARRA funds are being invested in road, bridge and transit projects that will both create jobs today and provide long-term benefits for tomorrow.
In total, Massachusetts will invest $396 million in Recovery funds for highway and bridge projects, and another $358 million for projects to improve MBTA transit systems throughout the state. An additional $165 million for rail and transit projects has recently been approved for the state through competitive ARRA grant programs.
As of December 31, over 90 ARRA highway projects valued at $378 million are underway, including Assembly Square in Somerville, Route 7 improvements in Pittsfield, and the Route 24 exit ramp in Fall River. These projects and many others will support economic growth and make long-awaited repairs in every corner of the Commonwealth. In order to accelerate ARRA road and bridge construction, and put people to work faster, MassDOT took a 120-day advertising/bid/contract award process and reduced it to 44 days.
Of the $438 million for highway investments, MassDOT has also transferred almost $60 million in funding to the MBTA and regional transit authorities – to build a regional transit center, improve bus service, and construct a parking garage at the Wonderland Station transit center.
As of the end of 2010, almost $218 million has been expended and 33 of the highway projects are substantially completed. More than 14,000 people have worked on stimulus road and bridge projects throughout the state.
At the MBTA, work is underway on $274 million worth of projects to improve commuter rail service and reliability, enhance bus service throughout the Boston region, expand bike parking facilities at stations, and to make essential repairs and safety improvements at facilities system-wide.
The MBTA has purchased 25 new hybrid buses for some of its most popular routes, placed 108 new RIDE vans in operation, provided direct Silver Line service between Dudley Square station and South Station, and started work on 20 other transit projects.
In addition to its highway and transit funds, the state has also won an additional $165 million of funding through competitive ARRA grant programs such as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) and High-Speed Rail grants – including $70 million in federal rail grants for the Knowledge Corridor along the Connecticut River, $20 million for bridges along the South Coast Rail corridor, $55 million to extend the Fitchburg commuter rail line to a new Wachusett Station, and $20 million for a transit plaza at Wonderland Station. These projects are underway.
ARRA funds have been invested in workforce development programs, helping unemployed Massachusetts residents hone their job search skills and train for new opportunities.
Increased Unemployment Compensation
The Federal Additional Unemployment Compensation program from the Recovery Act has made it possible for thousands of individuals across the Commonwealth to receive an additional $25 per week in unemployment compensation, for a total of more than $500 million. The Recovery Act has also extended the qualifying time for existing federal unemployment insurance extensions. This has allowed almost 250,000 individuals to receive extended federal unemployment benefits in 2009 and 2010 who otherwise would not have qualified.
Workforce Training and Employment Services
Massachusetts has invested over $64 million in Recovery Act formula grants in the Commonwealth’s 16 workforce regions. Some of the supported programs include the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which supported summer employment opportunities for over 8,600 youth in the Commonwealth. All of the low-income youth also received work-readiness training and education as part of this program. Additionally, over 1,000 high-needs youth, many with physical or mental health-related disabilities, were hired through the Byrne Youth Jobs Program.
Recovery Act funds have also supported employment services under the Wagner-Peyser Act, which benefits employed and unemployed workers seeking to upgrade their skills and obtain jobs. Through the Commonwealth’s 37 One-Stop Career Centers, customized services are provided to clients with special needs, including Veterans, individuals with disabilities and unemployment claimants likely to exhaust their benefits. Since the start of the Recovery Act, over 116,000 individuals in the Commonwealth have received services supported by these funds.
National Emergency Grants
National Emergency Grants (NEGs) temporarily expanded the service capacity of Workforce Investment Act Training and Employment programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance to support unexpected economic events which cause significant job losses. These economic events include business closures, mass layoffs and other large-scale events. Through the Recovery Act, the Commonwealth has received four NEGs thus far, totaling $4.8 million – one grant to support displaced workers due to a plant closure, two grants that support workers affected by large-scale layoffs at companies within the financial, information, manufacturing, retail and transportation sectors, and one grant that supports on-the-job training for under-skilled workers at specific companies. Over 1,000 eligible workers will benefit from services supported by these funds.
The Commonwealth has won over $5.9 million in competitive grant funds by the Federal Department of Labor to invest in workforce strategies that train individuals for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries as well as other green industries. With these funds, the Massachusetts State Energy Sector Partnership Grant (SESP) provides training in the clean energy industry to unemployed and under-employed program participants and is projected to train over 1,100 unemployed, under-employed and incumbent workers by the end of the grant (January 2013). The Massachusetts Energy Sector Partnership is co-convened by the Secretaries of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
Federal funds have helped maintain our public safety personnel, ensuring the safety of our communities by helping cities and towns retain police officers and firefighters.
Beginning in fall 2009, over $19 million in ARRA funds were awarded to 85 Career, Call, and Volunteer fire departments across the Commonwealth. Departments have used funds to rehire previously laid off firefighters, maintain existing staff, and support overtime expenses. Stations have been re-opened, brownouts have been reduced or eliminated, and fire companies have been brought back into service. Since November 2009, 263 firefighters in 85 cities and towns have been supported by the Recovery Act. At the direction of Governor Patrick, this funding was drawn from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund in the Recovery Act.
Massachusetts is the only state to have used its stabilization funds to retain firefighting jobs.
Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds are supporting municipal police staffs, funding employment initiatives and jobs for youth, and maintaining vital services in state public safety agencies. In each of these initiatives, the focus has been preserving or creating jobs crucial to sustaining and enhancing public safety. More than $6 million in JAG funds have been awarded to 35 cities and towns to support police departments’ re-hiring laid off officers, hiring of new officers, and supporting overtime and other personnel costs. An average of 72 full-time equivalent police officers have been supported each quarter since January 2010.
Preventing Violence against Women
Over the past year more than $2.5 million in Violence Against Women Act Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors (VAWA STOP) grants have funded district attorneys’ offices, nonprofit agencies, police departments, and the Administrative Office of the Trial Court to address domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Preventing Internet Crimes against Children
The Massachusetts State Police Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) Task Force is using ARRA funds to investigate and prosecute cyber crimes against children. So far, with this funding, the ICAC Task Force has investigated nearly 275 cases resulting in 24 arrests. The ICAC Task Force and affiliated agencies also provided training for over 500 law enforcement officers and other professionals and spearheaded public awareness events designed to protect children by promoting awareness of internet safety, cyberbullying, and sexting.
National Guard Bureau
The Massachusetts National Guard received $9.4 million for 8 energy efficiency projects to upgrade building systems and increase energy efficiency. Building upgrades include new windows, insulated siding, re-pointing and sealing of the building envelope, boiler replacements, and HVAC and latrine upgrades to help the facilities comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Also, 8,700 Soldiers and Airmen of the Massachusetts National Guard and Reserve components from neighboring states benefited from this funding while they utilized Camp Edwards for advanced military training.
Since January 2009, ARRA housing grants continue to support investments in our communities, including low-income housing projects, homelessness prevention, community services, and weatherization.
Community Services Block Grant
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) successfully met the federal September 30, 2010, deadline for investing its entire $25 million Community Services Block Grant award. During the 15-month program, 24 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) throughout the Commonwealth used stimulus funds from DHCD to create jobs, notably through the summer youth jobs programs, provide job-readiness assistance, prevent homelessness, offer nutritional help, and establish an online Benefit Enrollment and Coordination of Services System. Through these grants, more than 63,000 low-income beneficiaries are estimated to have received services from the CAA network, and 347 FTE jobs were created or retained.
Community Development Block Grant
The $9.1 million Community Development Block Grant funds awarded to the Commonwealth under ARRA are being used in 19 small communities across the state. The projects that are being funded include sidewalk repairs, upgrades to electrical and heating systems in elderly housing, water and sewer line replacement, and the construction of a senior center in Sheffield, MA.
Almost 7,300 low-income Massachusetts homes have been weatherized since the $125 million ARRA Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) began in September 2009. By the end of the ARRA program, the Department of Housing and Community Development expects to have weatherized over 17,000 homes. The ARRA Weatherization program has already injected more than $65 million into the Commonwealth’s economy. These funds are being used statewide to make the homes of low-income Massachusetts residents more energy efficient, create new green jobs in the Commonwealth, and help reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.
The ARRA WAP anticipated creating approximately 300 new “green” jobs in the Commonwealth over three years. As of the end of 2010, the total number of certified Weatherization program energy auditors working in ARRA WAP is 91, an increase of 48 since ARRA began. The total number of private-sector Weatherization program contractors working in ARRA WAP is 125, an increase of 70.
Many companies have added additional crews with an average crew size of 4 weatherization workers.
A $1 million grant from the state also funded the Mass Clean Energy Center’s MassGREEN Initiative training program, coordinated by Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). Through the Initiative, STCC has developed and now delivers energy efficiency workforce training programs for weatherization workers and contracting firms at community college campuses across the state.
Tax Credit Assistance Program and Tax Credit Exchange Program
To date, virtually all of the nearly $170 million in federal stimulus tax credit funds designated to assist stalled housing construction projects have been committed. Of the 32 projects awarded Tax Credit Assistance Program or Tax Credit Exchange Program funds, 31 are either in construction or are about to start, and 10 are nearing completion. Upon completion, these projects will provide housing for approximately 2,000 individuals and families in 1,997 units, 1,635 of which are affordable. Twenty-four communities are benefiting from construction activity and housing creation.
Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP)
The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) aims to reduce instances of homelessness in Massachusetts through a variety of programs and initiatives. The HPRP program is administered by more than 20 nonprofits, 2 housing authorities and 1 municipality with strong experience working to end homelessness and providing quality, affordable housing to low-income households. The table below displays the impact of HPRP services for households and individuals:
|Move from Homelessness||984||2,059|
Critical components of HPRP are eviction prevention and shelter diversion. HPRP providers work closely with the housing courts and with local housing authorities to prevent current tenants from being evicted and becoming homeless through rental assistance, housing relocation and stabilization services, mediation, credit counseling, security or utility deposits, utility payments, moving cost assistance, and case management. 3,746 people received case management, legal advice, credit repair and other services to stabilize their situation, enabling them to remain in permanent housing.
Lead Hazard Abatement Program
Technical and financial assistance was provided to de-lead 40 units housing 134 residents, including 51 children. In 10 units, lead poisoned children were present prior to the abatement work. At least 34 of the units were located in communities identified as "High Risk" by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health/Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
The largest ARRA programs under environment agencies are the State Revolving Funds for financing investments in drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities. Massachusetts' Department of Environmental Protection -- with the approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -- has allocated all $185 million of the ARRA Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) money to 120 projects across the state.
Water and wastewater infrastructure provide protection of the public health and environment, but often at a substantial cost. SRF is a low-interest loan program that helps make major investments in water infrastructure facilities affordable for municipalities, public water suppliers, and regional water and wastewater districts. Financing under ARRA SRF includes both loans and grants for “green infrastructure” retrofits that will save municipalities money at these energy intensive facilities through energy efficiency and renewable energy. The 115 ARRA-subsidized SRF projects reflect $770 million in total construction and engineering activity that will support economic recovery and public health.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also awarded $85 million from the federal Superfund to clean up hazardous waste at three Massachusetts sites: New Bedford Harbor, the Hatheway & Patterson site in Mansfield and Foxboro, and the Silresim Chemical Corp. site in Lowell. This will ensure that these sites are suitable for future economic development and recreation while removing environmental contamination.
Massachusetts has implemented an ambitious $55 million plan for the State Energy Program funded by ARRA. This program focuses on energy efficiency and solar energy installations, which reduce energy costs and the greenhouse gas emissions that result.
More than 100 solar stimulus projects across the state are accelerating the state's progress toward Governor Patrick's goal of 250 megawatts of solar energy by 2017. Between 2007 and the end of 2010, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed and scheduled for installation in Massachusetts increased 20-fold – with jobs in solar manufacturing, installation, and services nearly tripling.
Energy Efficiency in Buildings
The Commonwealth awarded grants to 11 projects under the High Performance Buildings Grant Program. This program dovetails with the state's nation-leading programs to provide energy savings through energy efficiency. The Program is supporting innovative projects that demonstrate dramatic savings in building energy in use in homes, businesses, institutions, and government across the Commonwealth. The demonstrated innovations will inform the utility-administered energy efficiency programs and the building community more broadly. The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is also working with the Division of Capital Asset Management to work through a pipeline of $200 million in energy efficiency improvements at state buildings that will pay for themselves over time.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants
DOER awarded 94 grants to communities across the state totaling over $12 million to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and in energy code training for municipalities. Twelve communities have already completed their projects.
State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program
In addition, over 20,000 Massachusetts residents benefited from nearly $5 million in rebates to replace old, inefficient washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers with high-efficiency models.
National Wind Blade Testing Facility
Massachusetts was awarded $25 million in ARRA funding to accelerate development of the Wind Technology Testing Center, a joint venture between the National Renewable Energy Lab, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, UMass, MIT and other partners. This center, located in Charlestown, has created construction jobs and will establish Massachusetts as the international epicenter for the testing of the next generation of large wind turbine blades. This facility, slated to open in 2011, is the largest of its kind in the United States.