Bringing Home the Green Recovery: A User’s Guide to the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Posted by Content Coordinator on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009


“The recently passed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a big, bold, and historic investment intended to kick-start the United States economy and lay the foundation for long-term economic growth and stability.  It can also serve as a down payment, if invested wisely, on building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. The circumstances couldn’t be more urgent—the American people are suffering through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and the planet is approaching a tipping point beyond which lies climate catastrophe.

With hundreds of billions of dollars to build, modernize, and retrofit homes, public buildings, schools, transit systems, parks, and water infrastructure—as well as a significant investment in our nation’s human capital through education and workforce training—this landmark legislation could be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to move the nation along an arc that bends towards justice, full inclusion, and sustainability.

The challenge, however, is the political and economic urgency to spend Recovery Act funds quickly in order to put large numbers of people back to work. This poses a danger in three ways: that money will be spent poorly; that funding will go predominantly to projects which only reinforce the pollution-based economy’s status quo (with low-income people and communities of color at the smokestack end); and that jobs will only go to workers with the skills and connections necessary to get those jobs quickly, thereby reinforcing racial and economic inequity.

While swift action is critical to get the economy back on track, the need for deliberate speed shouldn’t undermine the opportunity to utilize these dollars to transform the economy into one that is more just and green, and that provides real opportunity to all Americans. Our nation has dug an economic and ecological hole that is too deep and too polluted to be refilled carelessly.  Instead, we need to creatively develop and employ new tools and materials, with a focus on deliberate action, scaling up local innovation, and ensuring that all can participate and prosper…”

Download Full Version (PDF): Bringing Home the Green Recovery: A User’s Guide to the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act

About PolicyLink
“PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works.® PolicyLink work is guided by the belief that those closest to the nation’s challenges are central to the search for solutions. With local and national partners, PolicyLink is spotlighting promising practices, supporting advocacy campaigns, and helping to bridge the traditional divide between local communities and policymaking at the local, regional, state, and national levels.”

About Green For All
“Green For All is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy.  We work in collaboration with the business, government, labor, and grassroots communities to create and implement programs that increase quality jobs and opportunities in green industry – all while holding the most vulnerable people at the center of our agenda.

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