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Hirono votes to redirect TARP funds


Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) Wednesday voted in support of the Jobs for Main Street Act, H.R. 2847, legislation that will redirect the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds from Wall Street to create and save urgently needed American jobs.

The bill provides $75 billion in targeted investments for highways and transit, school renovation, and the hiring of teachers, police, and firefighters.

The legislation also supports small business, funds job training programs, and supports the national affordable housing trust fund. H.R. 2847 passed the U.S. House by a vote of 217 yeas to 212 nays.

Of that funding, $23 billion will be used to help states support an estimated 250,000 education jobs over the next two years. Exact figures for Hawaii have yet to be determined.

“The education funding in this bill is especially important as Hawaii faces more cuts in education. We need to work hard to ensure that Hawaii’s children do not lose any more school days. They need to be in their classrooms learning,” Hirono said. “I’m hopeful that this funding will allow teachers, students, and staff members to reclaim some of the furlough days that are now scheduled over the next two years.”

H.R. 2847 also includes $340,230,927 in funding for Hawaii’s highways and bridges, and water quality projects. Additional funding will be provided for public transit, aviation, and maritime infrastructure.

This adds to the approximately $240 million for Hawaii’s infrastructure allotted through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). These projects are in various stages from bidding to actual construction.

“The Jobs for Main Street Act builds on the Recovery Act and will create and help retain jobs for Hawaii’s people,” Hirono said. “This legislation will boost our economy while improving our transportation and wastewater infrastructure, as well as investing in our bus systems, including the rapidly growing bus systems on the neighbor islands.”

Of that transportation funding, $133,310,875 will come from savings from TARP.  H.R. 2847 also includes an extension of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2009.  That extension will provide $206,920,052 in federal funding that will last through September 2010.

“This was a very close vote. I know that the people of Hawaii are concerned about jobs and the economy,” Hirono said. “As a member of the jobs task force, I pushed hard to make sure we passed this bill as soon as possible.”

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