Stimulus Plans Will Create Sustainable Jobs

Globe-Net - Considerable attention has been given to streaming economic stimulus funding to ’shovel-ready’ projects that will create new jobs for those facing layoffs and job losses due to deteriorating economic conditions. Despite concerns expressed in many quarters about an over-emphasis on short-term job creation, in fact the economic recovery plan signed by President Obama will create 3 to 4 million high quality, sustainable jobs that focus on protecting public health and the environment. Canada’s economic stimulus plan follows suit.

“This is a perfect example of economic growth and environmental protection working hand in hand” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 specifically includes $7.22 billion for EPA-administered projects and programs to protect and promote both green jobs and a healthier environment.  These include: 

  • $4 billion for assistance water quality and wastewater infrastructure needs and $2 billion for drinking water infrastructure needs.
  • $100 million for grants to evaluate and clean up former Brownfield industrial and commercial sites.
  • $300 million to help regional, state and local governments, tribal agencies, and non-profit organizations with projects to reduce diesel emissions.
  • $600 million for the cleanup of Superfund Hazardous Waste sites.
  • $200 million for cleanup of petroleum leaks from underground storage tanks.

 While preference will be given to projects that can be started and completed expeditiously, EPA intends to monitor all projects for performance and transparency. Part of the oversight and review process will involve posted grants on the Web to ensure transparency.

Canada’s economic stimulus plan as set out in the January 27th federal Budget, contains several measures designed to create long-tem sustainable jobs also. In addition to short term transition provisions that focus on re-training and job transition funding is being made available as follows: 

  • $4-billion for an Infrastructure Stimulus Fund to renew Canada’s aging infrastructure.
  • $1 billion over five years to support green infrastructure and sustainable energy projects.
  • $500 million over two years to build and renew community facilities across Canada.
  • $1 billion in accelerated payments over two years to expedite “ready-to-go” infrastructure projects.
  • $500 million over the next two years for infrastructure projects in small communities.
  • $515 million over two years for “ready-to-go” First Nations projects in three priority areas: schools, water and critical community services.

 Additional funds will be provided to a wide range of government-owned infrastructure projects. In all, the estimated fiscal impact of the economic recovery plan is for a boost real GDP by 1.4 per cent by the end of 2010, which translates into about 140,000 jobs created or maintained.

The importance of such measures was underscored this week by Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty commenting on data showing Canada lost 129,000 jobs in January. This underscores the need for economic stimulus plans promised in the federal budget and he urged Parliament to pass the bill quickly.

As President Obama and Prime Minister Harper have repeatedly stressed, no one should under-estimate the severity of the economic recession gripping North America and the world in general.

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