Most stimulus funds have not yet been spent

The state of Wisconsin was allocated more than $7.5 billion in federal stimulus money to invest in education, energy, transportation, and other development grants and projects across the state so far.

However, the status of some of those projects is still uncertain. According to Lee Sensenbrenner, spokesman for Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, about $1 billion of the state’s stimulus money has been allocated for specific projects.

“There is a broad range of some projects under way right now including some road projects, and some water treatment projects,” Sensenbrenner said. “We are just getting into the construction season, and there are a lot of projects just getting going.”  

According to Allison Bussler, chief of staff for Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas, road projects in Waukesha County only recently received state approval. Most of those projects have not begun yet, he said.

According to the Wisconsin Office of Recovery and Reinvestment website, the state received $7.7 billion in stimulus funding. That funding was divided up between health care, tax relief, education, workforce, transportation, housing, energy, environment and public safety. A portion of that money was divided among Wisconsin counties. Southeastern Wisconsin counties received a total of $888.7 million in stimulus funding for transportation projects, education grants, environmental clean up, water treatment, health care, housing and infrastructure projects. Milwaukee County received the most stimulus money with $488.6 million, according to the state web site.

A representative of the state’s Office of Recovery and Reinvestment could not be reached for comment.

Earlier this year, a study conducted by the White House said that the stimulus package would create or preserve 74,000 new jobs in Wisconsin.

The unemployment rate in Wisconsin dropped slightly to 8.7 percent in May, according to the state Department of Workforce Development, a slight improvement from 8.8 percent in April. However, unemployment in May was 4.5 percentage points higher than in May 2008.

According to the latest Job Watch report from the Center of Wisconsin Strategy the state has lost nearly 139,000 jobs lost, including 65,400 manufacturing jobs and 20,200 construction jobs, since the end of 2007.

A complete list of the projects that have been allocated federal stimulus money in each county is available on the Wisconsin Recovery and Reinvestment office website: www.recovery.wisconsin.gov. 

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