Friday, February 13, 2009

Altmire Says Yes to Stimulus

The U.S. Congress is expected to approve the $789 billion economic stimulus package later today. Congressman Jason Altmire of the North Hills voted for the measure that came out of conference committee late last night. He says Congress had to act quickly to prevent the recession from spiraling out of control. The goal of the bill is to create or retain 3.5 million jobs. Republicans had complained that it was filled with pork rather than spending focused only on stimulating the economy. Altmire disagrees, he says there are no earmarks and there is no pork in the bill. He says all there is job producing spending and money saving tax cuts. Republicans had said there was not enough in the way of tax cuts but the bill that emerged from conference includes $282 billion in tax cuts. Altmire says with the keen focus on infrastructure spending Western Pennsylvania stands to be a big beneficiary. He says the region’s crumbling, roads, bridges and lock system could mean more spending here than any other part of the country. The final deal also includes almost $54 billion to help states with their budget deficits and to modernize schools. Something PA Governor Ed Rendell had been pushing for over the last few weeks. $8.4 billion has been set aside for public transportation. Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato says he hopes some of that will come the way of the Port Authority, maybe for the completion of the North Shore Connector.

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