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Wagner to oversee stimulus funding

Date: 3/3/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

Rep. Joseph Wagner has been selected as one of the members of the Temporary Stating Committee on the Federal Stimulus Oversight Committee. The committee has been charged by House Speaker Robert DeLeo to work with the Patrick Administration to review how the federal dollars coming into the Commonwealth are allocated and to ensure their use complies with federal guidelines.

Wagner is one of three legislators from Western Massachusetts " the others being Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera and Sen. Michael Knapik " to serve on the 15-person committee.

Wagner told Reminder Publications that he sees his role as a bridge between the legislative and executive branches.

I am pleased to have been appointed to this committee, he said. This committee will face many challenges, not least of which is ensuring that the federal stimulus money is distributed equitably across the Commonwealth.

The expenditures of these funds is going to be consistent, he added.

The federal stimulus package is expected to bring between $6 and $9 billion to the state. About $1 billion is designated for infrastructure improvements and $800 million is earmarked for public education. According to the Obama Administration, the funding is expected to create 79,000 additional jobs in the state over the next two years.

I know there is concern by many people on how the monies are going to be spent, Wagner said. Local officials often think the monies should go to them, but we have a process on how the monies should go.