10News Examines How Stimulus Funds Are Used In San Diego
Nearly $2B Awarded To Local Groups To Create Or Save Jobs
Last Updated: 1031 days ago
To date, the state of California has received $22 billion via the federal government's stimulus program -- more than any other state.In San Diego County, $1.5 billion in federal grants has been awarded to local groups in order to create or save jobs.Intended to spark job creation, taxpayers are spending $9.1 million on a new military child development center at Liberty Station in Point Loma.Among the construction workers reporting daily to the site is Eduardo Valdes, a quality control manager.Im relieved because I have a job, he said.Job creation or retention is the stated intention of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA. Marc Penick, CEO of TB Penick & Sons, which was awarded the contract for the center, said good paying jobs have resulted.I predict about 350 to 400 jobs overall on this project," he said.The child development center is one of two ARRA projects the Carmel Mountain construction company has been awarded.Penick said the government-sponsored projects are making up for a drop in non-public construction.Construction unemployment is at about 20 percent nationally, probably bordering on 25 percent in California, he said.Several local construction companies are benefiting from the ARRA money, including HRD Architecture. It received $6.5 million for a hospital on Camp Pendleton, and the company reported that 23 jobs have been created just for the project, with 37 more expected.Ramona-based RA Burch Construction was awarded $12 million for military renovation. It reported 85 jobs created as a result.In downtown San Diego, St. Vincent de Paul received $6.6 million for a child development center and affordable housing. It reported to 10News that the project is creating 365 construction jobs and, eventually, 17 permanent positions.In Chula Vista, the Institute for Public Strategies obtained a $2.8 million grant for social services, stating 14 jobs were created.While the cost of the ARRA Act is steep for taxpayers, Penick believes it will pay off.I think building public infrastructure is an investment in the future, said Penick, whose company was around during the Great Depression and did some public projects then as well.One benefit to taxpayers of making the investments right now, he believes, is that costs are down."The same building you were building in 2007 or 2008 will cost you 20 percent less here in 2010 because prices are down for materials, labor, equipment so it's a pretty good bargain," he said.The state reports that overall, 70,000 jobs have been saved or created by ARRA money, which is a fraction of the 2.2 million Californians who are out of work.The state has an office dedicated to watching the recovery funds spent in California. Its estimated that 7 percent to 10 percent will be lost to fraud, waste or abuse.See where stimulus funding is going in San Diego County by clicking here.