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Electric vehicles have been given a jump start by the stimulus, as Emily Badger details in this Miller-McCune article. The big hurdle is that electric vehicles can’t just pull up to the local gas station and fill up the tank. They need their own electrified infrastructure. Right now, the electric grid is nearly ubiquitous. The trick that stimulus dollars are now helping with is developing ways for the electric cars to tap into that grid.
Phil Mattera of Good Jobs First explains that stimulus job reporting remains both “disappointing and frustrating.” This has led, he argues, to systematic underestimates of the benefits achieved thanks to ARRA dollars. We hope that this problem begins to change for the better as recently implemented reporting changes take greater effect.
The office of California Inspector General Laura Chick, whom we recently interviewed, has just released a report describing poor contract oversight and negotiation for the state’s high speed rail projects. This Millbrae Patch article summarizes the main findings, namely that the state High Speed Rail Authority failed to properly document contracts, negotiated the contracts weakly, and even contracted different firms for redundant work.
More tarnished gold in the Golden State. California Watch blogger Christina Jewett explains how the state has missed out on over $500 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families stimulus funds. It seems the federal government had set a spending limit for all states of $6.7 billion, but had only set aside $5 billion to cover requests. Other states simply got the pot faster than California, leaving that state able to collect on only about $1.2 billion of the $1.8 billion it was eligible for.