Governor Patrick Unveils Mobilization Plan to Prepare for Federal Economic Stimulus Funds
In separate meetings with members of the state's Congressional delegation, legislators, economic experts, and representatives from the construction, labor and business industries, the Governor outlined the Patrick-Murray Administration's comprehensive efforts to advance smart projects that get the state's economy back on track today and build a stronger foundation for tomorrow.
"President-elect Obama and members of Congress understand that our country's economic recovery depends on putting our citizens back to work today," said Governor Patrick. "'Use It or Lose It' funding requires that shovels be ready to go in the ground on a moment's notice. This mobilization plan will ensure we are ready to do just that - build worthwhile projects, create jobs and return the Massachusetts economy to prosperity."
To prepare for an infusion of federal funds, Governor Patrick has asked Lieutenant Governor Murray and members of his cabinet to lead Project Delivery Task Forces. The Task Forces are responsible for reviewing and further developing a preliminary list of projects that may be eligible for federal dollars and mobilizing them for advancement. The task forces will focus on Clean Energy and Efficiency, Education Facilities, Transportation, Information Technology, Private Development, State Facilities and Courts and Municipal Facilities.
"Federal funds will support a wide range of clean energy, education, health care and other projects that are critical to the Commonwealth's future. It is imperative that we approach this opportunity as comprehensively and as efficiently as possible," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "The Task Forces will help us accomplish our goal of making investments that have both an immediate economic impact as well as long term benefits for our citizens."
The Task Forces' work will evaluate projects based on the principles of long-term sustainability and benefit, diversity and local goods and services first. Project recommendations are due to the Governor prior to the inauguration of President-elect Obama.
Also today, the Governor released his updated capital plan - the Administration's second annual blueprint for statewide infrastructure investment which includes state and federal funding for Fiscal Year 2009.
"The capital plan we released today will keep Massachusetts on track during these difficult economic times," said Administration and Finance Secretary Leslie A. Kirwan. "By maintaining our commitment to higher education, transportation, clean and renewable energy and infrastructure improvements, we can help ensure the Commonwealth emerges from these challenging times stronger than ever before."
The Administration took additional time to finalize the capital plan so the sharp decline in state revenues early in the fiscal year could be factored in as well as changes in the local and national economy. It is now scaled back to a level based on a debt affordability analysis that limits debt service to no more than 8 percent of budgeted revenues. As such, the bond cap (or ceiling on the amount the state may borrow) has been reduced by $50 million to $1.575 billion for Fiscal Year 2009. Bonding capacity in subsequent years has also been reduced from previously planned levels. The Administration will continue to monitor revenues and make any changes that may be necessary before the Fiscal Year 2010 capital budget is finalized.
The full capital plan can be found at www.mass.gov/capital