The goals for the second logo, TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) were even simpler: Use a tiger motif to speak to the Department of Transportationâs new initiative, and be sure to include âUSDOTâ somewhere in the mark.â
Let’s hope that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act represented by the ARRA and TIGER logos works out better than the NRA and National Industry Recovery Act did.
About 125 people from 49 states, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and other officials including Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board attended the day-long conference to share ideas on how best to implement the $787 billion economic Stimulus Package signed into law last month by President Barack Obama. Idaho was unable to send a representative. Biden was introduced by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, (photo by Gerald Herbert/AP)who called him âboth the watchdog and the bulldog.â
In his opening remarks, Biden said, “We have an awesome responsibility here. We have never attempted to, as transparently and as accountably, get as much money out into the states as quickly in order to help you with counter cyclical help, in terms of your budgets, in terms of your employees, whether it’s cops or teachers. Nor have we ever invested this much money since Eisenhower in the – invested in the Interstate Highway System and the infrastructure of this country. This is a first.”
Officials came to the conference armed with questions on the requirements they have to meet to receive stimulus funding, as details have come out piecemeal since the recovery bill was passed.
Officials said some of their questions were answered at Thursday’s conference, but they expect to have to return to the administration for more information.
Wayne Turnage, the chief of staff to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, said although he had learned about the workings of the plan, he still expected to work with the Obama administration for “weeks, months and years.”
“We have questions around some of the timing issues,” he said. “There is a huge requirement that these dollars be obligated and spent in a certain time period and we want to make sure that federal processes… are consistent.”
Obama has stressed the importance of overseeing the funds’ distribution.
to know how these entities are spending stimulus funds at the project level,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a letter to Gene L. Dodaro, the U.S. Acting Comptroller General.
In the letter released on Thursday, McConnell asked the GAO to report on governors who are using stimulus funds to “supplant state spending,” to describe measures of how many jobs the plan has created and to identify federal regulations “that may delay project starts.”
The Kentucky senator also wants to know if the contracts for the infrastructure projects in the plan – which total $40 billion – are being competitively bid and if requirements that workers on those projects be paid the prevailing local wage are increasing the projects’ costs.
“All of you are at the front lines of what is probably the most important task that we have in this country over the next couple of years, and that’s getting the economy started again,” Obama said.
“What you do in the coming weeks and coming months, over the next couple of years is going to make a huge difference in whether or not the trust that the American people have placed in us is justified. We’re going to need to work really hard and we’re going to have to make sure that every single dollar is well spent,” he added.
The Vice President said he would make himself directly available to governors who are having problems in dealing with the money. âTell your governors – literally â if they have a problem, if theyâre confused, if youâre confused about what needs to be done – literally – pick up the phone and call me,â he said. âCall me.â âIâm used to being accessible,â he added. âI really mean it. Have your governors call me and weâll get it straightened out – âcause we got to get it right.â