As of March 31, school districts and public institutions of higher learning had spent over $900 million, or 91% of the state's total allocation of State Fiscal Stabilization funding. This money has stabilized our public education system, and continues to directly support educators and staff, and ensure that students have continued access to high-quality educational services. Governor Patrick's strategic allocation of this funding, in addition to increases in state appropriations, prevented what could have been catastrophic cuts to public education in Massachusetts.
There are currently 110 Clean Water and Drinking Water Treatment facility projects-which include sewage treatment plants, water storage tanks, and other water systems-underway. Fourteen projects have been completed, including 4 solar photovoltaic installations. The Commonwealth has leveraged ARRA funding to finance $770 million in construction contracts, the highest of any state in the country. This level of spending is expected to create or retain up to 4,000 jobs by the end of the program.
Across the Commonwealth, 39 transportation projects totaling over $90.3 million, are fully completed. These include $5 million in resurfacing on Route 6 in Westport; $4.3 million worth of resurfacing on Route 2 in Concord, and $5.1 million of resurfacing on Route 9 in Belchertown and Ware.
The Town of Dennis installed a 17 kW solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the Dennis Police Station. The project, completed in October 2010, was funded by a $77,423 ARRA Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant and a Renewable Energy Trust - Clean Energy Choice grant of $23,777.
The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for Government Services continued to support 61 firefighters in more than 40 municipalities across the Commonwealth.
Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funding supported 37 police officers this quarter. The Town of Chester for example was able to increase patrol and visibility time, resulting in increased traffic enforcement, crime investigations and emergency responses. With ARRA funding, Chester police have also been able to maintain regular well-being checks on elderly residents.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) STOP grants supported 23 positions this quarter, including prosecutors, domestic violence/sexual assault officers and civilian/victim witness advocates. The ARRA-funded staff provided specialized services such as victim advocacy, safety planning, investigations and prosecutions on behalf of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence.
The Heritage Common Apartments, a 140-unit complex in Lawrence, received $851,500 worth of heating and insulation upgrades under the ARRA Weatherization Assistance Program Expiring Use/Preservation Initiative Project. In addition, an additional $2.1 million was leveraged for windows, lighting, and other improvements. Energy savings through these upgrades should allow residents, who pay their own utility bills, to save an estimated 35% (or approximately $560 per household annually) on their energy costs. This project also received a commendation from the U.S. Department of Energy for the state's "Ability to partner to maximize leveraged funds to greatest impact."
The ARRA-funded project at the New Bedford State Pier was completed at the end of December 2010. The project including installing a concrete dock, secure fencing, and other security measures. The facility will be used as a secure docking point for state and city police patrol vessels, including the Massachusetts Environmental Police. This will increase maritime security and drastically improve response times in and around the Port of New Bedford.
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) is using ARRA funds to support 11 Independent Living Centers (ILCs). These projects are a mix of direct client services, outreach efforts, and technological infrastructure improvements designed to increase each ILC's capacity to serve individuals with disabilities across Massachusetts. Some examples of specific project accomplishments include:
The Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann (ILCNSCA) continues to utilize ARRA funds in development of its All Persons Accessible Business (APAB) project. The project's goal is to work together with the area community and businesses to increase accessibility to local businesses. ILNSCA recently completed a project website, www.apabnsca.org, which is now operational and available to the public. This site describes the APAB project and promotes Americans with Disabilities Act compliance by area businesses.
The Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL) continues to utilize its ARRA funding for outreach to unserved and underserved populations. The current focus is on outreach to Haitian-Americans and Spanish-speaking individuals. There is also a concurrent focus on individuals with disabilities seeking services so they can remain in the community and not have to go into a nursing home.
Stavros Center for Independent Living in Amherst continues to develop a Home Modification program through partnering with a small group of contractors to provide construction services for individuals with disabilities seeking to make their homes more accessible. The Center will provide assessments, design service, and coordinate actual construction.