The stimulus bill was a hotly contested topic for many in Washington when it was announced. The potential of new jobs and a boost to the struggling economy outweighed the negatives mentioned by opposition, and as we all know, it ultimately passed. However despite the benefits we’ve seen for many industries with the stimulus money, there are still funds collecting dust and not being put to use.
Clean tech is one industry which is awaiting a majority of its allocated funds from the stimulus. According to the Recovery Act’s website (designed to provide transparency on where and how the money is spent) only 23% of the $31bn in funds has been paid out for various clean tech activities. As this blog post states, much of the money that has been awarded to companies, over 730 groups totaling $1.2bn in 2009 alone, hasn’t been dispersed yet. Unfortunately with the complex contract system in place this may end up being the case for many that go on to win stimulus money.
At this rate – even though virtually all of it has been awarded – the industry is estimated to wait an additional six years before everything is paid out and some companies simply can’t afford to wait that long. The point of the stimulus was to create job growth and invigorate the economy. A shift in action with these funds, namely focusing on paying out awardees instead of the roundabout claiming of funds, is needed to truly make this stimulus work the way it was intended, otherwise even though the recession may technically end, we won’t see the growth and return to prosperity promised from it.