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Double-Dip Recession? Blame the Unspent Stimulus Money



For all the complaining about excessive government spending, just the opposite might be true: Not enough federal money allocated has been spent.

As of Aug. 1, only $3.2 billion of Virginia's $5.5 billion share has been forwarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which passed Feb. 19, 2009. That's a little more than half and it's been 18 months.

The lion's share of the funding — about $1.7 billion so far — is going to education statewide with about $1.5 billion to social programs. The information is from a new website set up by Virginia Comptroller David Von Moll that is, itself, two months late.

Locally, some $280 million is due to go to the Virginia Department of Transportation for roads and other improvements in Richmond. About $20 million is due to Virginia Commonwealth University for research support. And about $600,000 is due to AmeriCorps, a President Bill Clinton-era service program.

Henrico County has used $14 million for school expansions and is due, among other items, $114,000 for a project to help female victims of violence. Chesterfield County last year used $20 million to shore up 275 teachers' jobs. According to the website, the county's due $1.7 million for its share of the regional Maggie Walker Governor's School in Richmond.

Finding out precisely how much money has actually been spent is a difficult exercise. The Wall Street Journal has reported that only one-third of the $230 billion due to boost infrastructure projects nationally has been paid out. Across the country, only a fraction of the money has been spent — only 15 percent of funds allocated for energy projects, 15 percent for homeland security, 37 percent for education and 39 percent for housing.

The news of the unspent funding comes as unemployment figures remain high and fears of a double-sip recession grow. Information is available at the revamped website, .

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