Fresno Hosts "Road to Recovery" Conference

July 8, 2009 9:58:29 PM PDT
With California expecting 85-billion dollars in federal stimulus funds over the next two years, many wonder how that money will be distributed.Wednesday in Fresno local leaders learned they'll need to focus to be able to tap into those funds to create jobs.

Fresno State was the first stop on the California "Road to Recovery" tour. Mayor Ashley Swearengin told the California Recovery Task Force much needed federal stimulus money could be put to use in several ways.

Swearengin said, "We know in the San Joaquin valley we have a lot of the natural assets that would create a foundation for a clean energy foundation. All the natural assets. We have the sun. We have the dairy poo. We have in the eastern-southern part we have the wind."

But those seeking funds must navigate a drawn-out process of applying for money from specific departments such as energy, housing and water.

Pete Weber of the Regional Jobs Initiative said, "It's a very complicated process."

Camille Anderson of the Recovery Task Force explained, "There's over 300 pots of funding for us to access here in the state of California so we're here to provide information to local government entities, local business and others."

Some say a regional push is needed to secure the funding needed to create jobs and stimulate the local economy.

Pete Weber said, "I think it's very important for the valley to speak with one voice. I think multi-jurisdictional, multi-county applications will fare a lot better."

Weber believes green jobs, those having to do with energy conservation, will attract a good chunk of federal funding.

This was the first Recovery Task Force conference to be held in the state. Future meetings will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center and San Jose State.

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