According to ProPublica’s Recovery Tracker database, the District of Columbia has received the most money per capita, $8,357, since the federal stimulus plan was enacted in 2009.
Unemployment in the District has also risen by about 20 percent since 2008.
So where has D.C.’s $5,028,734,803 in recovery funding been spent? Almost three years ago exactly we posted this, a list describing what the stimulus funding would mean for us.
Let’s check in on where we stand.
The Hope: The White House estimated the stimulus could create up to 12,000 new jobs in the District.
The Reality: As stated, unemployment has risen since 2009, but not for lack of trying. In 2010 the Fenty administration awarded $2.5 million to job training programs for 1,300 D.C. residents. The Department of Employment Services also used $627,753 from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to provide on-the-job training for healthcare and construction occupations, according to Recovery.DC.gov.
The Hope: Increase in unemployment benefits.
The Reality: Not only did D.C. raise the weekly unemployment compensation $25 per week based on ARRA, they also increased operating hours at their career counseling centers and hotline, according to the Department of Employment Services.
The Hope: D.C. Public Schools would be entitled to enough funds to refurbish around 34 schools.
The Reality: According to the April 2010 DCPS Outline for 2010-2011 Stimulus Funding test scores and graduation rates were up, but even with those gains, less than half of DCPS students were proficient in math and reading. The site states: “We are in the midst of a necessary and radical turnaround that has to continue in order to educate all children according to their rights and abilities.”
The Hope: Roadways would be improved.
The Reality: The District was quick to obligate $82.6 million of ARRA funds to DDOT, which immediately went to completing projects such as repaving I-395 and updating and repairing streetlights.
The Hope: Improved regional mass-transit.
The Reality: Nearly $202 million dollars were allocated to Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority for improvements to buses and rail cars. More than a quarter of that money went to purchasing 48 new hybrid buses and 80 new paratransit vehicles as well as constructing a new bus body and paint shop. The effort was expected to create over 100 new jobs.