BOSTON – Wednesday, February 11, 2009 – Anticipating the receipt of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds for statewide infrastructure projects, Governor Deval Patrick announced today that he has selected senior real estate professional Jeffrey A. Simon to lead the Administration’s economic recovery infrastructure program. Governor Patrick has been preparing to maximize the Commonwealth’s ability to create new jobs and lay a foundation for long-term economic growth.
To ensure that taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects are completed with integrity and openness, the Governor will implement a series of accountability and transparency initiatives, including a central website with complete information about every project that receives federal stimulus funding. Taken together, these announcements represent another important step forward in Governor Patrick’s efforts to ensure that Massachusetts is fully prepared to benefit from the federal recovery package he has helped to shape.
«These investments are to rebuild Massachusetts and get people back to work,» said Governor Patrick. «Jeffrey Simon’s job is to assure that is done right, with transparency and accountability.»
In December, Governor Patrick established Project Delivery Task Forces to prepare the Commonwealth for an infusion of federal funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act pending in Congress. Led by Lieutenant Governor Murray and members of the Governor’s cabinet, the Task Forces were responsible for reviewing and further developing a preliminary list of «shovel-ready» projects, recommending next steps for expediting project delivery and taking advantage of this historic opportunity to not only create jobs but achieve longer term economic benefits for the Commonwealth.
«We received thousands of shovel-ready project submissions from across the Commonwealth,» said Lieutenant Governor Murray. «It is obvious that there are significant infrastructure needs from the Berkshires to Boston and I am hopeful that these stimulus funds will help us address these needs, while creating good jobs.»
The Task Force Chairs recommended the Governor appoint a Director of Infrastructure Investment to oversee the unprecedented investment effort. In his full-time position as Director, Simon will be responsible for coordinating, monitoring and assisting state agencies and municipalities in implementing projects consistent with the pending legislation and the Task Forces’ recommendations.
Simon will also serve as the point of contact with the federal government and the public. Simon will also be responsible for working with agencies to ensure compliance with federal requirements and meeting expectations for transparency and accountability. The legislation is expected to include «use it or lose it» requirements, significant reporting and accountability provisions and a decentralized approach to distributing infrastructure funding to state agencies and municipalities.
Simon will begin his work this week and is expected to remain on the job for the period necessary to carry out the federal program. For his bio, please visit www.mass.gov/recovery.
«We are going to put people back to work building worthwhile projects to benefit us all. We will do this with openness, honesty and professionalism,» said Simon. «I am grateful to Governor Patrick for giving me the opportunity to be part of this team and I am anxious to get started.»
Accountability and Transparency
While the pending Federal Act presents a historic opportunity for the Commonwealth, it also presents many challenges, including the risk of mismanagement and waste. That is why the Governor today is also launching the Massachusetts Recovery and Reinvestment Plan website.