Congressman Chet Edwards Reacts to Economic Stimulus Plan

By: Meredith Stancik Email
By: Meredith Stancik Email

President Barack Obama has signed into law the most sweeping economic package in decades, a rescue plan designed to create millions of jobs and boost consumer spending.

The $787 billion package aims to reverse the nation's economic free fall. It pumps money into infrastructure projects, health
care, renewable energy development and conservation.

As part of the mammoth plan, millions of dollars will be headed to the Brazos Valley.

According to Congressman Chet Edward's office, 269,000 jobs will be created or saved in Texas, 45,000 in Brazos Valley and surrounding areas.

Millions of dollars will be pumped into local schools. The Bryan Independent School District will get $6.8 million. Most money distributed will go to Title 1 schools, schools that are at an economic disadvantage compared to the others.

The College Station Independent School District is expected to get $2.2 million. Money will go to special education and the district's three Title 1 schools.

Several million dollars could pave the way for local road improvements. Our local Texas Department of Transportation Office tells News 3 that our area is competing against 24 other regions for a piece of that stimulus package.

News 3 talked with Congressman Chet Edwards Tuesday to get his take on the stimulus package.

"It means an $800 tax rebate for most working families. That will mean a lot to a lot of families struggling to make ends meet. It will mean new highway construction to make improvements. It will mean tax breaks for college students attending Blinn and Texas A&M University. It can make a real difference as they are struggling to pay their high education costs. It's going to put money into health care, in research that can help reduce the cost of energy long term in this country. Most importantly it'll be a jump start for the national economy to hopefully keep the Brazos Valley from facing the kind of national economic problems our country is facing today."

"The positive thing about the road construction money, and this will double the Texas Department of Transportation construction budget, is that these decisions will be made by TxDOT and local community leaders, so right now in Bryan and College Station they're working with TxDOT to find shovel ready projects that could make a difference. The Barron Road exchange in College Station and Old Reliance bridge in Bryan are two of the projects they are taking a very close look at."

News 3 also asked Edwards about the fear some people have that this plan will burden future generations.

Edwards said, "Well, I worked the 1990's to have balanced budgets. I opposed the budgets that led to massive deficits. I think we very quickly need to get back to trying to balance our budget, but you don't try to balance a budget in the middle of the deepest, most serious recession our nation has seen since the Great Depression. At a time when we've lost 1.6 million jobs in just the last three months alone. So I think what we need is short term stimulus to jump start the economy, just like jump starting the battery on your car. Once the car gets running, once the economy is on it's feet again, then we need to quickly get on a glide path towards a balanced budget. The best way to insure massive deficits for as long as the eye can see, is to allow this recession to go on and on, because recession exacerbates federal deficits very significantly."

The White House has broken down the plan's affect on each United States Congressional District, when it comes to employment benefits.

Here are the districts making up the Brazos Valley and surrounding areas.

8,400 jobs are expected to be created or saved in District 17
8,800 jobs are expected to be created or saved in District 8
10,300 jobs are expected to be created or saved in District 10
9,000 jobs are expected to be created or saved in District 31
8,800 jobs are expected to be created or saved in District 6


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