Rendell touts success of federal stimulus in Pa.

January 13, 2011 10:15:47 AM PST
The billions of dollars in federal stimulus funds pumped into Pennsylvania have lessened the impact of the recession on the state's families and funded projects that will pay dividends for years to come, Gov. Ed Rendell said Thursday.

"The stimulus has worked," Rendell said at a news conference. "It's not popular to say that. It may not even have the ring of truth about it."

He said the spending has been credited by the White House Council of Economic Advisors with creating or saving more than 136,000 jobs in the state, and that most of Pennsylvania's $31 billion share has now been spent on a mixture of tax cuts, infrastructure improvements, unemployment benefits, job training and other programs.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as it is formally known, has helped resurface more than 940 miles of highways, repaired 6.5 million square feet of bridge decking, and funded 112 water projects.

It also helped extend access to high-speed Internet, boosted food stamp benefits and weatherized about 30,000 homes.

The $31 billion total for Pennsylvania consists of $16.6 billion administered through state government, including the infrastructure spending; $11 billion in tax credits and benefits to people and businesses; and $3.4 billion in federal grants.

Rendell said Pennsylvania has weathered the recession with the strongest economy among the large industrial states, noting that its most recent unemployment figure was 8.6 percent.