By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
The White House says seven stimulus projects in Colorado are creating thousands of jobs and adding to an overall effort to “change America.”
A report released Friday points to the seven Colorado projects as part of 100 stimulus projects highlighted by the White House as being “some of the most innovative and effective Recovery Act projects nationwide.”
The projects in Colorado include:
Ą $400 million for the Abound Solar Manufacturing, LLC facility in Longmont to manufacture thin-film solar panels. Expected to create 2,000 temporary jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs;
Ą $45 million for UQM Technologies in Frederick to build a new electric vehicle propulsion plant. Expected to add 230 jobs by next year, growing its workforce from 70 to 300;
Ą $28 million contribution to the $500 million redevelopment of Denver Union Station. Expected to create 7,000 jobs during construction and add $3 billion in new economic activity to Colorado over the next 20 years, according to the governor’s office;
Ą $3 million for a new interchange at Crossroads Boulevard and Interstate 25 in Loveland. Expected to handle about 24,000 vehicles per day. An average of 84 people worked on the project per month during construction;
Ą $39.4 million to install 35 acres of solar panels on the roofs and grounds of the Denver Federal Center. Nearly 40 people have been put to work so far;
Ą $500,000 to expand the Crossroads Safehouse in Larimer County from 15 units to 25 units; and
Ą $10 million contribution to the construction of a tower for the senior and disabled at 1099 Osage St. in Denver. At least 50 construction/sub-contracting construction jobs will be created, according to White House officials.
Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter on Friday praised the $814 billion economic stimulus Ń signed in Denver last year Ń for an anticipated injection of at least $7.3 billion into the state by the time the dollars run out, and for creating, saving or “indirectly producing” 50,000 jobs in Colorado.
“The Recovery Act is helping Colorado’s economy by investing in ambitious projects like the redevelopment of Denver Union Station and the expansion of Abound Solar in Longmont,” Ritter said. “These projects are creating and retaining thousands of jobs, shifting the economy in the right direction and providing long-term benefits to the people of Colorado.”
Republicans and critics of the stimulus point to the nation’s nearly 10 percent unemployment rate in arguing that the stimulus has been a waste of money and a failure. The unemployment rate in Colorado has held relatively steady at around 8 percent. The state unemployment rate for July of last year was 8.1 percent.
Jeff Crank, state director for the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, told the Denver Daily News recently that the stimulus will only leave the country further in debt. He says the majority of the jobs created have been government jobs, including thousands of temporary jobs due to the Census count. Meanwhile, private sector employment continues to decline, said Crank. Crank also points to reports that the White House mistakenly double- and triple-counted jobs during stimulus impact counts. “The American people are growing in their concern for the amount of spending that is burdening our children and future generations,” he said last month. “I guess (the White House’s) only hope is to continue saying that it’s worked.”