Pennsylvania – April 23, 2009

Use of Funds

An estimated 90 percent of Recovery Act funding provided to states and localities nationwide in fiscal year 2009 (through Sept. 30, 2009) will be for health, transportation and education programs. The three largest funding categories are the Medicaid increased Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) grant awards, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, and highways.

Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) Funds

  • As of April 3, 2009, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had made about $1 billion in increased FMAP grant awards to Pennsylvania.
  • As of April 3, 2009, Pennsylvania has drawn down about $330.8 million, or nearly 32 percent of its initial increased FMAP grant awards.
  • Officials plan to use funds made available as a result of the increased FMAP grant awards to help cover the state's increased Medicaid caseload, ensure prompt claims payments, and to offset Pennsylvania's general fund budget deficit.

Transportation—Highway Infrastructure Investment

  • Pennsylvania was apportioned about $1.0 billion for highway infrastructure investment on March 2, 2009, by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • As of April 16, 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation had obligated $308.6 million for 108 Pennsylvania projects.
  • As of April 16, 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation had advertised competitive bids on 97 projects totaling about $260 million, and the earliest contract was awarded on March 20, 2009.
  • These projects include activities such as highway repaving as well as bridge replacement and painting.
  • Pennsylvania will request reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Transportation as the state makes payments to contractors.

U.S. Department of Education State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (Initial Release)

  • Pennsylvania was allocated about $1.3 billion from the initial release of these funds on April 2, 2009, by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Before receiving the funds, states are required to submit an application that provides several assurances to the Department of Education. These include assurances that they will meet maintenance of effort requirements (or that they will be able to comply with waiver provisions) and that they will implement strategies to meet certain educational requirements, including increased teacher effectiveness, addressing inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers, and improving the quality of state academic standards and assessments. Pennsylvania plans to submit its application by April 25, 2009.
  • The Governor plans to use the funds to increase state funding for school districts and restore state funding for public colleges. The Governor also plans to use some funds to pay operating costs for the Department of Corrections.

Pennsylvania is receiving additional Recovery Act funds under other programs, such as programs under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) (commonly known as No Child Left Behind); programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); Transit Capital Assistance and the Fixed Guideway Infrastructure Investment Programs; Workforce Investment Act; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Stabilization Program; the U.S. Department of Justice Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants; and the U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program. Plans to use these funds are described throughout this appendix.

Safeguarding & TransparencyBack to top

On March 4, 2009, the Governor named the Secretary of General Services as the state's Chief Implementation Officer responsible for the effective and efficient delivery of all Recovery Act-funded initiatives and projects. Additionally, the Governor set up a Recovery Management Committee to report to him on the progress of recovery efforts. According to the Chief Implementation Officer, this body meets regularly to discuss the status of the program, troubleshoot areas of concern, and report to the Governor on the progress of recovery efforts. In addition, Pennsylvania officials said they would use their existing integrated accounting system to track Recovery Act funds flowing through the state government. Although Pennsylvania has plans to publicly report its Recovery Act spending through a Web site (www.recovery.pa.gov), officials have said that the state may not be aware of all Recovery Act funds sent directly by the federal agencies to municipalities and independent authorities. In late March 2009, the Governor appointed a Chief Accountability Officer who will be responsible for reporting on Pennsylvania's use of Recovery Act funds. Pennsylvania plans to conduct several risk assessments for Recovery Act programs by June 2009. Pennsylvania's Auditor General also anticipates work auditing and investigating Recovery Act funds received by state and local agencies.

Assessing the Effects of SpendingBack to top

Pennsylvania state departments are in the early stages of developing plans to assess the effects of Recovery Act spending. According to state officials, they are awaiting further guidance from the federal government, particularly related to measuring job creation.

For More InformationBack to top

The above excerpts are taken from GAO's April 23, 2009 Bimonthly Review of the Recovery Act:

Recovery Act: As Initial Implementation Unfolds in States and Localities, Continued Attention to Accountability Issues Is Essential
GAO-09-580, April 23, 2009
For more information on Pennsylvania within the report, please see the following pages:
Appendix XVII: Pennsylvania pages: 251 – 264
GAO Contact
portrait of of Phil R. Herr

Phillip R. Herr

Director, Physical Infrastructure

herrp@gao.gov

(202) 512-2834

portrait of of Mark E. Gaffigan

Mark E. Gaffigan

Director, Natural Resources and Environment

gaffiganm@gao.gov

(202) 512-3168