Reed and Whitehouse Visit Recovery Act Construction Site, See Economic Revitalization at Work in Johnston
Johnston, RI - U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today visited a local construction site where funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is being used to help improve local infrastructure, create jobs, and bring businesses back to a once blighted stretch of Hartford Avenue.
The investment of $3.5 million in Recovery Act dollars to upgrade the roadway and install fiber optics and new traffic lights will help improve road safety, ease traffic flow, and allow the city to add new sidewalks and curbing. The project has generated 35 jobs for area workers and is scheduled for completion in late fall of 2010.
This federal funding also paved the way for the city of Johnston to work with private developers to move forward with construction of a new 63,000 square foot retail plaza to be developed on the old Stuart's Plaza - which has been vacant for nearly two decades.
"This project is improving our roads and infrastructure, creating jobs, and generating economic activity. It is a good example of how wisely investing Recovery Act dollars can leverage a larger amount of private investment and make a positive difference for our community," said Reed. "Thirty-five road construction jobs and the purchase of materials were generated by the $3.5 million in Recovery Act funding. However, the subsequent development of the vacant lot into a hotel and shopping center will generate an additional 260 construction jobs and create future work in the hotel and shopping center when the project is completed."
"We saw today in Johnston that investment in our crumbling infrastructure creates jobs and improves the quality of life in our communities," said Whitehouse. "In addition to upgrading the condition of Hartford Avenue, this project has used federal money to encourage private development which will support new jobs for years to come."
In a recent letter to President Obama, Reed and Whitehouse stressed the importance of using infrastructure projects to create jobs. The letter, signed by 24 U.S. Senators, urged the President to focus ongoing job creation efforts on rebuilding our nation's infrastructure, arguing that Rhode Island and many other states have "significant, documented infrastructure repair needs."
The Senators toured the site with Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Michael Lewis, Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, state and city officials, private developers, and contractors.
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