Just a few short months ago, educators with brimming with enthusiasm about the potential economic stimulus funding would offer. We talked about those new programs that could be pursued. We discussed how existing efforts could be broadened and expanded. We dreamed about the possibilities of doing using the “startup” money found in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to do new things designed to spark innovation in the classroom and long-term academic improvement in the student.
Thank you for your interest in funding available to Virginia through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Both transparency and accountability are core requirements of ARRA-and I am pleased to update you on the Commonwealth’s progress on projects and proposals related to the Recovery Act.
As you may know, my administration launched stimulus.virginia.gov earlier this year to gather project ideas from individuals, groups, and localities for potential funding through ARRA. Between February 10 and the March 6 submission deadline, more than 9,100 project proposals totaling $465.6 billion were suggested through the website. Since then, these proposals have been sorted and sent to the appropriate Cabinet Secretariat for evaluation.
Virginia‘s General Assembly incorporated ARRA program funding that is administered by agencies into the state budget and directed it to specific activities. The Recovery Act alsoincreased funding to existing federal programs rather than allowing states to fund projects from a large discretionary fund. As a result, what little discretionary ARRA funding that existed was used by the General Assembly to address Virginia‘s projected budget shortfall. While these decisions around ARRA and the state budget-which I signed into law on March 30-are continuing to ease the economic downturn in the Commonwealth, they also mean there is no discretionary funding available to dedicate to specific projects.
Currently, under each Cabinet Secretariat
, state agencies are working with their federal counterparts to implement ARRA funding for programs ranging from education to water quality, totransportation, to energy. These programs require that all project ideas meet specific criteria and be formally submitted through traditional federal funding processes. In most cases, these processes are now complete and work is ready to begin. Most of the projects that were funded via traditional federal measures were submitted as a project idea.
Although there are many other project ideas that could contribute to our economic recovery, a number of proposals we’ve received-including private business investment and tax reduction-fall outside the scope of ARRA funding provided to the Commonwealth.
I strongly encourage you to monitor the stimulus.virginia.gov website for information on projects being funded by the ARRA and to explore potential opportunities through the competitive grants process. Some projects submitted through stimulus.virginia.gov not selected for ARRA funds may be eligible to apply for a competitive grant directly from a federal agency.
Thank you again for your input. I always appreciate hearing from citizens of the Commonwealth and will take your thoughts and proposals into consideration as we work to get our economy back on track through ARRA. Please do not hesitate to contact me via my , and find out more about my initiatives on my web site at www.governor.virginia.gov.
Timothy M. Kaine
r of the Commonwealth of Virginia