What the federal stimulus means for Boston

I have always said that partnership is one of the most effective tools that we as leaders can use to achieve progress on almost any front. In difficult circumstances, bringing people together to work toward a common goal becomes even more important. As government leaders across the country grapple with the question of how best to overcome the financial crisis, it's reassuring to know that we have a leader in President Obama who understands the value of partnership when it comes to problem solving.

Last week, I traveled to Washington D.C. to join other mayors from cities across the nation to meet with President Obama and Vice President Biden to discuss the steps moving forward to implement the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This meeting symbolized a renewed partnership between the White House and America's urban leaders from both parties.

After meeting with the President and Vice President, I also had the opportunity to speak directly with many of the Obama administration's cabinet members that will be instrumental in implementing the Recovery Act. I had conversations with Attorney General Eric Holder as well as cabinet officials representing the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Education, Department of Energy, and the Department of Transportation.

There is a lot of work to be done in order to effectively implement the Recovery Act, and these meetings in Washington D.C. emphasized the need for partnership and cooperation at every level moving forward. President Obama has called on mayors to help get the job done, and I'm committed to working with his administration so that the City of Boston benefits as much as possible from the sensible investments that the legislation provides. Much of the funding is directed toward priorities that my administration has long championed, including modernizing public housing, investing in neighborhood development, supporting youth opportunities in education and summer jobs, strengthening public safety, and advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives.

My administration's Economic Recovery Team will continue to work closely with state and federal officials to ensure that Boston is positioned to use funding in a timely manner to jumpstart projects, create jobs, and put people to work. Projects that receive direct funding as part of the Recovery Act, such as a $30 million investment for public housing through the Boston Housing Authority, will likely be the first to get off the ground. Over a two year period, our schools will also benefit from $69 million in direct funding. Additionally, Boston will compete for certain funding, such as COPS grants to help strengthen our Police Department and funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help keep people in their homes and combat the problem of foreclosure.

President Obama's commitment to cities is evident in his creation of a White House Office of Urban Policy, and my recent meeting with the President and other key administration officials reaffirmed this partnership. President Obama and I also agree that the only way to effectively implement the Recovery Act is with accountability and transparency. I urge those with questions about the bill to visit Recovery.gov, an online tool to help people understand where funding is being directed. Accountability and transparency are critical tools for maintaining the public's confidence in this process, and we will make sure to uphold this responsibility. Over the next several days and weeks, we will launch a website for the City of Boston, so that residents can understand exactly how recovery funds will impact their communities.

By working together, we'll make the necessary investments to strengthen our city and put our economy back on track.