Governor Deval L. Patrick
Stimulus Accountability and Transparency
State House, Boston, MA
February 11, 2009
Anticipating the receipt of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds for statewide infrastructure projects, Governor Deval Patrick announced today that he has selected senior real estate professional Jeffrey A. Simon to lead the Administration's economic recovery infrastructure program. Governor Patrick has been preparing to maximize the Commonwealth's ability to create new jobs and lay a foundation for long-term economic growth.
Learn more about the administration's plans and Director of Infrastructure Investment Simon at www.mass.gov/recovery
Governor Deval Patrick
Good afternoon, everyone. As the federal stimulus bill nears completion in the Congress, Massachusetts is preparing to put those funds to work immediately.
Mindful of the need to respond urgently to jobs lost here and across the country, and anticipating a "use it or lose it" requirement in the final bill, we began to mobilize in December, when we established several Project Delivery Task Forces. Led by Lieutenant Governor Murray and members of my cabinet, the Task Forces reviewed and developed preliminary lists of projects that are "shovel-ready" and otherwise eligible for federal dollars. The Task Forces have also submitted recommendations for a number of action steps to ensure the success of these investments, such as streamlining our procurement and contracting procedures and better ways to assure participation of small business owners. I want to thank the Lieutenant Governor, my cabinet and the more than 275 Task Force members who have been a part of this effort, as well as the Inspector General for his guidance.
Thefinal reports and recommendations will be available to the public tomorrow on a new website. That website is www.mass.gov/recovery .
Based on the latest information we have, we anticipate that Massachusetts will be eligible for between $1 and $2 billion for infrastructure investment. It is essential that these investments be made wisely and overseen professionally. To help us do so, I am today appointing Jeffrey Simon as our Director of Infrastructure Investment. Jeffrey will be responsible for coordinating, monitoring and assisting state agencies and municipalities in implementing projects consistent with the Federal Act and the recommendations of the task forces. He will report to me and to Secretary Kirwan. In short, he will ensure that our federal investments are made in ways that create the maximum number of new jobs and the maximum amount of long-term value.
Jeffrey comes to us with an extensive background in real estate development and job creation. He has more than three decades of project management experience both in business and in government. Most recently, he served as President of Simon Properties, Inc., a real estate company he launched in 1985. He has also worked for the Commonwealth as the director of the former Massachusetts Government Land Bank, where he was responsible for the redevelopment of former military bases including Fort Devens.
With Jeffrey's help, we are taking some further steps to ensure transparency for and accountability to the public, as well as compliance with federal regulations and requirements. Once projects are underway, the new website I mentioned will serve as a central clearinghouse for detailed information about every project that receives federal funding and those who perform the work. This website will list all stimulus contracts, the names of all bidders and regular progress reports of work carried out under these contracts. In other words, the public will be able to track the dollars spent as we spend them against the timeline for specific projects.
In addition to using the website to shed light on the public bidding process, I will support the efforts of the Attorney General, Inspector General and the State Auditor to provide active oversight and accountability for this process. We intend to do everything we can to ensure that the public agencies overseeing these projects do so with the integrity the public deserves.
In addition to creating needed jobs throughout the Commonwealth, these projects - together with those through the state's capital plan - lay the foundation for long-term economic strength by investing in roads and bridges, schools, housing, rail and other transportation needs, energy efficiency and clean energy generation, information technology, broadband access and much more.
The stimulus bill will also provide funding to help the Commonwealth and municipalities avoid even harsher cuts in jobs and public services. Working families across the state and across the country have a federal income tax coming to them in this bill as well. I want to thank our entire congressional delegation for all they have done and are doing to advocate for us and to help reach a compromise. We need the help - and help is on the way.
While the economic clouds may still be menacing, our plans in Massachusetts are beginning to come together. The spending cuts we have made are tough but necessary. The state capital programs is underway and federal stimulus support is almost in place. Prompt action in the Legislature on the Municipal Partnership Act and the Emergency Recovery Bill will also help. And I and my whole team continue to reach out to businesses and investors here and all around the world about creating jobs and building a future here.
Our resilience and perseverance are being tested, but with these plans and other initiatives, we do see a way forward. I look forward to working with Jeffrey, with the members of the Legislature, with the Attorney General, the Inspector General, the Auditor, municipal officials and all of the people of the Commonwealth to help lift our fortunes and our futures.
I thank you all for coming, and now it's my pleasure to bring my great partner forward, the Lieutenant Governor.
Lieutenant Governor Murray
Thank you, Governor.
From the moment after the presidential election, Governor Patrick tasked myself and members of the cabinet to begin a comprehensive inventory casting as broad a net as possible of the projects that needed to be done, - infrastructure needs, school needs, housing needs - because at that time there was not a lot of meat on the bone in terms of the specifics of what this federal economic stimulus package would look like.
But we wanted to make sure Massachusetts was ready, and the Governor gave us that task, and we went out and developed a very comprehensive inventory. I think it underscores something that we already had a pretty good idea existed in Massachusetts, it's the amount of deferred maintenance and infrastructure needs in the state that was chronicled a couple years ago by the Transportation Finance Commission just in road, rail, and bridge needs.
What we found out is that the need exist in so many different places, whether it be water or sewer, whether it be municipal facilities. The task force that I chaired up had over four-thousand submittals, totaling in the billions of dollars.
But what Governor Patrick said is we're going to be ready, and he has done a great job in "quarterbacking" this effort, not only among the constitutional officers to make sure that we have that oversight and review that as necessary, but just as importantly, or perhaps even more importantly, put people to work at a time that it's desperately needed.
And one of our partners in that effort is the Attorney General who is going to be working with the IG, the Auditor, and Jeff Simon who we're proud to have joining with us in making sure this oversight is done in a way that we all can be proud of.