U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, said today the federal stimulus package has had an “enormously positive impact” on the Quad-City economy.
Braley spokes with reporters today on the Lincoln Road overpass over Interstate 74 in Bettendorf.
The congressman from Waterloo said the stimulus had saved the jobs of teachers, police officers and firefighters and had created “unique transportation opportunities,” such as resurfacing work on I-74.
The project was moved up by four years as a result of the stimulus, Braley said.
Critics of the law have claimed it has had little to no impact. And an Associated Press, or AP, analysis today said the surge in transportation spending has had “no effect” on local unemployment.
Braley said he had not seen the report.
The AP analysis studied counties across the country and found there was no relationship between unemployment trends between counties that got stimulus money for transportation projects, and those that got none.
The AP analysis did not take into account other parts of the $787 billion stimulus law.
The Obama administration said the AP article was misleading.
The state of Iowa’s own reporting says that, from March through Sept. 30, more than 1,200 transportation jobs were created or saved in the state using stimulus funds.
However, those figures were arrived at simply by tallying the hours of work paid for using stimulus dollars and converting it to full-time equivalents.
With the jobless rate still high, Republican critics have complained the stimulus has failed, only adding to the government’s budget deficit.
In his remarks, Braley called the loss of 85,000 jobs nationwide in December “disappointing.” However, he said that is not evidence the stimulus isn’t working, only that more work needs to be done.
Braley voted for a bill last month that would spend $75 billion on such things as highways, transit and school renovations. The bill is pending in the Senate.
Some economists have worried that without more stimulus, job losses could increase.