The Monroe County Water Authority received nearly $24 million for the construction of its new Webster facility, slated to open later this year. Director Nick Noce says the stimulus money helped prevent a rate increase for thousands of customers. Beyond that, the project provided for the hiring of dozens of local workers over several years. It's a project that is easy to track in terms of how the money was spent and where the hiring happened, but it hasn't been without some problems. In 2011, a worker died in an underground accident while working on the tunnel portion of the project. OSHA fined the contractor $55,000 after discovering seven violations. Since April 2011, crews have been on schedule and the project remains on pace to open in 2013.
Many school district and transportation projects checked out in similar fashion. Where it gets murky is in the form of research grants and jobs numbers.
For example, Cornell University received a grant for nearly $300,000 for a research project focusing on the domestication and roots of household dogs. The purpose of the study and the potential job creation from such research is unclear, and we asked Cornell to explain. We're awaiting word from the University, and will pass on their explanation when they send it to 13 WHAM.
The recovery.gov site makes it difficult to track job numbers in other ways, too. Some projects are listed as not requiring a job report; other project reports are incomplete.
13 WHAM News will continue to follow the flow of stimulus dollars. You can submit your questions or suggestions by emailing us at email@example.com. In the weeks and months to come, we'll show more of what we've found.