WILLSBORO - The passing of President Barack Obama's Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act has prompted a flood of phone calls to Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward's office regarding the local allocation of stimulus funds.
In response, Sayward is directing taxpayers to a new Web site that details how the money will be spent.
EconomicRecovery.ny.gov was introduced by Gov. David Paterson recently to guide New Yorkers through the federal bailout process and to provide an avenue for various entities to apply for stimulus funds.
Sayward said the Web site provides much needed transparency for people concerned about where the $800 billion is headed.
"We're all concerned about the stimulus money - it's a lot of money," she said. "We've had many calls into our office wanting to know where it's going to go, is it going to be used the way President Obama wants it used, on our local highways for example, or on projects for bridges and other such things."
The Web site also includes updates on the state's economy and allows applicants for funding to submit project information to the New York State Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet - a group created by Paterson to choose which projects will receive federal funding.
Local projects receiving money can be located by clicking the "Resources and Links" tab and following the link to the regularly updated Draft Proposal List. The document lists several projects that have been proposed in Essex and Franklin counties, including the replacement of a trunk sewer line in Lake Placid and a request for funding from the Saranac Lake Youth Center for "growth and development."
"It's important to share this information with the public so they can track this news as it goes forward," Sayward explained.
Additionally, Sayward said there are more shovel ready projects in New York than there is funding to support them - and she says that's a good thing.
The assemblywoman explained unused stimulus funds from states lacking shovel-ready projects will be redistributed by the federal government to states like New York with an excess of proposals.
"The stimulus money is going to be channeled into the states that do have projects ready," Sayward said. "I know the governor has two people in his office that are working specifically on bridge and road projects to get them out the door."
As projects are approved, they will be posted to the Web site, Sayward said.