Arizona Governor Jan Brewer asked Vice President Joe Biden for an advance on federal stimulus money in a conference call this morning with other governors.
Brewer told a "gracious" Biden that $350 million in federally funded transportation projects will "absolutely" move forward. However, the law requires states to provide money up front for "shovel-ready" projects. Arizona, in the middle of a severe budget crisis, could use an advance on some of the stimulus money to help cover those costs, Brewer wrote in a prepared statement about the call with Biden.
Scroll down for full text of Brewer's release:
Statement by Governor Jan Brewer Regarding Conference Call with Vice President Joe Biden
PHOENIX - "At the invitation of the White House, I joined a conference call this morning with several other governors and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss the ongoing dissemination of federal stimulus funding from federal agencies to state governments. The other governors and I were grateful for the opportunity to discuss some of the challenges of this program, and to briefly suggest some possible improvements. The Vice President was gracious, and pledged that the federal government will continue its efforts to provide more clarity regarding proper uses for stimulus funds, as well as eligibility thresholds and accountability requirements.
"I specifically described for the Vice President Arizona's cash flow challenge, and the fact that for the first time since the Great Depression our State Treasurer had to borrow nearly $500 million to pay the state's monthly bills. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires states to advance funding for shovel-ready transportation projects, which can exacerbate the cash flow issue. Arizona is currently utilizing our portion of federal stimulus funding for transportation projects, which is approximately $350 million, and those projects will absolutely move forward. It would be helpful if the federal government could either advance those dollars for states with cash flow problems, or possibly create a pool of funds from which states can borrow to meet those temporary funding requirements.
"I appreciate the Vice President and his staff for their assistance in this process, and for the temporary relief that these federal funds will have in helping us overcome the years of fiscal mismanagement of my predecessor."