American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009
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The Recovery Act signed into law by President Obama on February 17th, 2009 includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need. The Act includes $62 million for "shovel ready" water and wastewater infrastructure projects in Oklahoma. Specifically, the stimulus package appropriates more than $31 million each for Oklahoma's Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan programs. Funds will not only allow Oklahoma to address critical wastewater infrastructure needs, but also provide benefits to the state's environment and create jobs for Oklahoma workers.
The purpose of the OWRB's ARRA website is to provide Oklahoma citizens with information on how the agency is meeting goals and objectives set forth in the federal legislation. The OWRB is making a concerted effort to comply with federal guidelines with a focus on utilizing state funds to provide additional subsidization to Oklahoma communities for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements. Projects, approved at monthly meetings of the agency's nine-member Board, have been thoroughly vetted and certified to maximize taxpayer dollars.
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund is a low-interest loan program to assist communities with municipal wastewater infrastructure construction projects and other pollution control projects. Eligible projects include construction of new wastewater facilities or the replacement or rehabilitation of existing facilities for secondary and advanced treatment, inflow and infiltration correction, collector and interceptor sewers, combined sewer overflow correction and related projects. Eligible projects include nonpoint source, brownfields, green infrastructure, energy efficiency, water efficiency, stormwater pollution control projects and other environmentally innovative activities.
Projects funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for wastewater infrastructure will follow the current procedures of the Oklahoma Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program. Priority will be given for projects that are ready to proceed to construction (i.e., engineering and environmental completed and application submitted and approved). Projects must meet the minimum eligibility requirements of the CWSRF Program and under contract or under construction by February 17, 2010.
For the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program, additional subsidization will be rendered through a combination of principal forgiveness and loans. The end result will be the expenditure of $31,662,100 in ARRA funds and approximately $179,000,000 in Cap Grant and leveraged SRF funds, consequently providing benefits in excess of what was originally anticipated through ARRA.
One goal of ARRA is to provide a minimum of 20% funding toward "green" projects, including water and energy efficiency, green infrastructure, and other innovative projects beneficial to the environment. The OWRB began soliciting for green projects in November 2008 and will continue to accept projects as part of the Project Priority List. A public hearing regarding Oklahoma's Green Project Reserve will be held on June 23, 2009.
Reporting and transparency by the State of Oklahoma and municipalities is a crucial aspect of the ARRA. Information verifying program accountability will be made available via this website as well as the federal government's Recovery.gov and sites administered by the State of Oklahoma and Environmental Protection Agency. Reporting elements include job creation, expenditures, project status, and other benefits.