Recently, the U.S. Council of Mayors released a report detailing how hundreds of thousands of “green collar” jobs could be added in the U.S. in a relatively short period of time. But where will the funding for these projects come from, with the economy in a downturn?
A report by the Washington Post recently detailed how environmentalists and smart-growth advocates are vying for stimulus dollars to be allocated to the creation of these green collar jobs, rather than traditional infrastructure projects (think: bridges, roads, etc.).
Two different schools of thought are the center of these debates:
Spending on “shovel-ready” projects, such as those proposed by the Mayors
- Spending on long-term environmental projects like wind and solar power
Initial discussions over the stimulus plan put the cost in a range between $675 and $850 billion, with money potentially appropriated toward tax cuts and credits, covering Medicaid and education costs. Over $300 billion is up for grabs to cover a range of projects from the infrastructure improvements suggested above, to tax credits for renewable energy, and to food stamps.
The final details are expected to be nailed down around this time, at the start of the New Year, and before Congress starts its new session Jan. 6. Democratic negotiators are hoping the bill would pass shortly after Obama is sworn in.
Deciding where environmental initiatives like recycling expansion and improvements and energy grid updates will fall, with so many interests vying for stimulus dollars, has yet to be seen.