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The big layoffs in 2011 could come from state and local governments, as opposed to the private sector writes the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson. With the stimulus funds drying up, and most rainy day funds depleted, Thompson argues that 2011 will see states and cities making drastic job cuts that they’ve been able to avoid thus far. In fact, as he shows in a very striking graph, it’s already happening.
New Jersey and the Federal Transit Authority are squaring off over that state’s cancellation of a commuter rail tunnel that would have connected New Jersey and New York. The FTA has demanded that New Jersey repay more than $271 million that was already spent. New Jersey, in turn, has hired a law firm to fight the charge. Whoever wins, of course, this is a merry holiday gift for attorneys.
Ohio Senator George Voinovich is pushing legislation that would allow that state to use $400 million in federal stimulus dollars originally intended for high-speed rail for other purposes like fixing roads and bridges. Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich views high-speed rail as a waste of money. And according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Stephen Koff, Voinovich agrees. His bill, however, appears to face long odds against passage.
Here’s a neat behind the scenes look at the EPA’s Recovery Mapper, from one of the developers himself. Dave Smith, via his blog Surveying, Mapping and GIS, explains how the mapper works and how it displays the benefits of EPA Recovery Act projects in communities.