One year after President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, officials gathered at the construction site of Lula’s future wastewater treatment facility to point out the many things the federal money has made possible.
Lula broke ground on the treatment plant in October 2009. The $8.5 million project is funded in part by stimulus funds and will be a state of the art, environmentally friendly facility.
It is estimated that construction of the plant will create about 200 local jobs.
Representatives from Lula, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority gathered Wednesday afternoon to mark the anniversary of the act.
Infrastructure improvements like the plant in Lula will help communities on multiple fronts, said Stan Meiburg, acting EPA regional administrator.
“They’re going to produce good paying jobs while helping our environment,” he said.
Meiburg said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has shown that economic growth and environmental protection do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Projects like Lula’s may seem small, but will impact water quality for the entire region, he added.
“We have a saying in the environmental world — everybody is down stream from somebody,” Meiburg said.
Phil Foil, executive director of Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, announced that in the year since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed, GEFA has spent all of its $144 million in stimulus funds across the state.
“We obligated all of that within one year on 59 projects,” Foil said.
Foil said the need for infrastructure improvements in Georgia is significant — GEFA had to whittle down $6 billion worth of requests from 1,600 projects to 59.