Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ritter Gives Obama Stimulus Suggestions

Gov. Bill Ritter has offered President-elect Barack Obama a list of suggestions for stimulus spending in Colorado next year, asking that the new administration in Washington, DC focus on transportation projects and energy infrastructure.

The governor included his ideas in a letter sent to Obama Dec. 9. Ritter specifically mentioned 112 highway projects costing $1.1 billion; 23 aviation projects costing $113 million; and 22 transit projects costing $144 million.

Ritter also asked Obama to push Congress to appropriate about $90 million to the U.S. Department of Energy's State Energy Program grants and to create a $10 billion energy retrofit program that would cover all types of structures. Ritter also suggested increases to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation block grant program, the federal fund that pays for weatherization projects and assistance to utilities to pay for transmission projects. He also recommended a variety of tax changes aimed at encouraging investment and research into renewable energy sources and facilities, including "clean coal" research.

"Colorado and the nation face significant economic challenges,” Ritter said. “But these challenges also create enormous opportunities. Colorado’s successes at building a New Energy Economy and creating new jobs can be a model for the nation. Through wise infrastructure investments, we can create jobs and hasten economic recovery in the short-term, and put the nation on a long-term path for growth that will allow us to compete and succeed on a global economic stage.”

Obama is expected to ask Congress for a large fiscal stimulus bill, possibly approaching as much as $ 1 trillion, shortly after his inauguration as President Jan. 20, 2009.