(Host) Governor Jim Douglas wants the second half of Vermont’s federal economic stimulus money to go to job training, new loans, and broadband expansion.
Douglas and a group of state senators have unveiled a plan for spending the over eight million dollars.
$3 million of this year’s funds would be spent on increasing broadband internet access in rural Vermont. Douglas says the biggest hurdle to his goal of getting broadband to every home and business has been funding.
(Douglas) "The real reason we’ve come up a little short on our aggressive time frame is that we’ve been confronted by this recession and the telecommunications companies have not been able to make the kind of investment that we anticipated when we talked with them several years ago about a partnership."
(Host) A new bill would create grants for businesses hurt by the closing of the Champlain Bridge and restore money to a state-wide worker training program. Money could also go to loans for struggling farmers and economic development.
Senate Economic Development Committee Chairman Vincent Illuzzi says this is one of the most important bills of the year.
(Illuzzi) "There is no disagreement among any member of the general assembly, and I can say this with almost 100 percent confidence, that one of the first bills we need to move this year is going to be one of the few bills that actually appropriates money that will put people to work."
(Host) The bill could be introduced in the legislature as early as Tuesday. Douglas says it’s unclear how many jobs would be created by the initiative.