11 Great Stimulus Projects… GOP ‘Pledge’ To Cut

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Republican leaders insist, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that President Obama’s $800-billion-or-so stimulus package from last year hasn’t accomplished anything. (This is driving top White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein absolutely crazy.) 

Progressive groups — and most leading economists — say the problem with the stimulus was that it didn’t do enough, because it wasn’t nearly as big as it should have been. 

Lost amid those arguments is what exactly the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act did accomplish — which, by comparison to almost anything except the massive output gap it was supposed to fill, is a lot. 

On Tuesday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the act added from 1.4 million to 3.3 million jobs during the second quarter of 2010. 

In addition to $288 billion in tax cuts, the Recovery Act funded all sorts of worthy projects that created jobs, backstopped a number of safety-net programs, and made huge investments in infrastructure, energy independence, mass transit and other public goods. 

Here are 11 projects that got stimulus money. Do you think they deserved your tax money? 

Helping Wounded Warriors 

The Defense Department is using $100 million in Recovery Act funds to construct two complexes for the Warrior Transition program, which helps ill and injured soldiers recover and return to duty or to their communities. One of the two stimulus-funded projects is in Fort Bliss, Texas. The $41-million project includes design and construction of a barracks, an administrative building, and a “Soldier and Family Assistance Center.” 

Building Battery Factories 

The Recovery Act provided $2.4 billion for development of domestic industry to make lighter, more energy-dense lithium-ion batteries designed to power electric vehicles. A123 Systems, a battery-technology innovator that got its start at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received $249 million in stimulus grants to build battery factories in Livonia, Romulus and Brownstown, Mich. According to the New York Times, the company’s investment in southeast Michigan will total over $600 million, and more than 800 workers are expected to be employed at the two newest plants. 

Charging Stations For Electric Cars 

ECOtality in Phoenix, Arizona is helping bring the first public charging stations for electric cars to cities around the country. The company received a $114-million Recovery Act grant, which will help it deploy nearly 15,000 charging stations in 16 cities in six states (Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Tennessee and Texas) plus the District of Columbia. More than 8,000 qualifying drivers of the Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Volt will be provided with a residential charger for free. Xconomy.com has more. 

Turning Wind Into Electricity 

 Iberdrola Renewables Inc. received a $170-million tax credit for its Streator Cayuga Ridge wind park in Livingston County, Illinois. The company’s 150 turbines will generate 300 megawatts of clean, renewable energy — enough to power over 86,000 typical American homes. It created 300 jobs during its construction. 

Building Wind-Energy Components Here 

Wind farms are great – but what about when all those turbines are made in China? Some stimulus money is going to help states like Michigan establish a new energy economy. Energetx Composites, a Holland, Mich.-based composite manufacturer, received a $3.5-million “Clean Energy Advanced Manufacturing” grant funded by the Recovery Act. The company is using the grant to diversify its product line, developing and manufacturing wind-energy components. To meet its growing needs, the company has teamed up with Grand Rapids Community College — which received over $8.5 million in stimulus grants — to develop a new technician-training curriculum. 

See the other six here… 

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