State Could Receive $3 Billion to Invest in Infrastructure,
The U.S. Senate passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 February 10 that included measures secured by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to increase unemployment compensation and health care for Washingtonians, incentives to build more affordable housing, and to create new green manufacturing jobs and provide tax relief to consumers buying new plug-in vehicles.
Due to Cantwell's efforts, Washington state is poised to receive: up to $2.02 billion in increased Medicaid funding to provide the most vulnerable with access to health care; an additional 33 weeks of unemployment benefits for the more than 136,000 Washingtonians; funds that could be used to clean up Hanford; increased borrowing authority for Bonneville Power Administration; and, approximately $3 billion to invest in infrastructure, creating nearly 80,000 good-paying jobs, providing job training and education, and making communities stronger and safer.
"More than 200,000 job cuts have been announced this year, and in Washington state, the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 7.1 percent," said Cantwell. "We still have a long way to go to get our economy back on track. However, with this federal support, Washington state will be able to make investments in infrastructure projects and improvements, create jobs, provide training and education, provide the neediest among us with health care, and invest in areas critical to the development of clean, renewable energy technologies."
In addition to extending unemployment benefits and increasing Medicaid funding for Washington state, Cantwell was also instrumental in securing a provision to create new green manufacturing jobs and provide tax relief to consumers buying new plug-in vehicles. Cantwell's amendment will provide manufacturers of plug-in electric vehicles and components with a tax incentive for increased investment; provide consumers with tax relief when they purchase electric vehicles currently on the market; provide utilities with the flexibility they need to deploy smart grid technologies; and, increase access to recharging stations for electric vehicle owners.
"While we look for ways to reinvigorate our economy and create new, high-paying jobs, we must also provide businesses the certainty they need in the tax code to make investments now," said Cantwell. "We need to take advantage of new technologies to bring our cars and trucks up to speed, and we must invest in our grid and take it from a two-lane dirt road to a four-lane superhighway. The incentives included in the economic recovery package and this amendment will do just that, while at the same time creating jobs and saving American taxpayers the dollars they desperately need."
In Washington, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would:
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