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May 27th, 2009
Blueprint America
Public Works
Video: Blueprint Nebraska

Nebraska Educational Television (NET) – The U.S. economy is suffering. Americans are losing jobs, homes and their health care coverage. To ease the economic crisis, millions of dollars will soon flow into Nebraska as part of the biggest budget package ever approved by the federal government. What does this mean to a state such as Nebraska that is already battling budget woes? And, who decides where the money goes?

As representatives from transportation, schools and local government line up for their share of the more than one billion dollars earmarked for the state, NET Television examines these questions in “Blueprint Nebraska.”

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is the largest effort of its kind in history. Available money will spread from Washington, D.C., throughout the nation to rebuild roads, fund education and increase interest in renewable energy. For the next several months, federal agencies will provide the money and guidelines on how the stimulus funds are to be spent. More than 50 state programs ranging from infrastructure projects to money for schools and Medicaid will receive a portion of the money.

In Nebraska, Gov. Dave Heineman is working closely with the state legislature to distribute funds with the hope of lessening the impact of the slow economy. On Capitol Hill, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson has been instrumental in shaping the stimulus package through his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Heineman and Nelson join NET Television producer Perry Stoner in the NET studios to discuss their views of the stimulus package and how Nebraska might most effectively put the money to use. Comments and questions from Nebraska citizens and local government officials are included in the 30-minute program.

NET Radio also produced stories related to Nebraska’s share of the federal stimulus money. Coverage  includes reports on projects in Lincoln and Omaha to repair and upgrade storm and sewer water systems, as well as stories about how the federal money can be used to improve water quality in communities in greater Nebraska.

Nebraska Public Radio: Stimulus includes millions for new roads (5/8/09)

The state of Nebraska is receiving $158 million in funding for state highway upgrades through the federal government’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus bill. Funding for “ready-to-go” projects is being passed out on a monthly basis by the Governor’s office. As part of NET Radio’s “Blueprint Nebraska” series this week, reporter Jim Kent explains what the stimulus money will mean for several roads projects in the Nebraska Panhandle.
Nebraska Public Radio: ARRA Funds Digging New Wells in Alliance (5/12/09)

Out of 1.3 billion dollars coming to Nebraska from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 471 million dollars will go toward infrastructure. In the Panhandle, the city of Alliance is receiving nearly 6 million dollars for new wells and transmission lines for its water system. It’s one of dozens of similar projects across the state that are necessary to meet EPA water quality requirements. Grant Gerlock speaks with Alliance City Manager, Pamela Caskie, on Morning Edition.
Nebraska Public Radio: Energy funds pay for retro-fitting homes, buildings (5/12/09)

Nebraska’s stimulus money set aside for energy will pay for everything from improving the efficiency of old buildings, to testing out new ways of generating renewable energy. In the third installment of our “Blueprint Nebraska” series, Sarah McCammon reports on how those dollars will be spent.
Nebraska Public Radio: Federal stimulus money funds urban Nebraska wastewater projects (5/14/09)

Lincoln and Omaha together are getting 25-million dollars in federal stimulus money for water and wastewater projects. As Clay Masters reports in this latest installment of “Blueprint Nebraska” Lincoln had projects ready-to-go while Omaha is using the money to help fix a problem.
Nebraska Public Radio: Omaha’s sewer problems backing up in basements (5/15/09)

Omaha is getting some help from the federal stimulus package to complete repairs on its aging sewer system that are mandated under federal law. Even so, the stimulus funding won’t begin to cover the project’s total cost of over a billion dollars. But whatever the total cost comes to, some city residents can’t wait to get it started. As Robyn Wisch reports in our next installment of “Blueprint Nebraska”, some Omaha residents have been seeing remnants of that aging sewer system backing up in their basements for years.
Nebraska Educational Television is a partner station of Blueprint America

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