in Houston, Texas
New Jersey, Texas, and others having budget, quality control problems with weatherization stimulus programs
Friday, Nov 12, 2010, 01:09PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
insulation

In what is arguably the most troubled program in the entire federal stimulus, New Jersey may now takes its perverse place as a national leader.


More than 20 months after Congress approved giving $5 billion to the Department of Energy to distribute among the states for a Weatherization Assistance Program, New Jersey has managed to a find a way to spend less than 6 percent of its $119 million allotment, the Associated Press reports today. The state's Department of Community Affairs has made energy efficiency improvements to a little more than 1,000 of the 13,000 low-income homes it had targeted.


In what has become the theater of the predictable for the Weatherization Assistance Program, officials in New Jersey complained of bureaucratic difficulties in getting the program launched. Concerned, State Auditor Stephen Eells ordered a study and among the conclusions found the Department of Community Affairs failed to enforce cost control guidelines. And before the curtain is dropped, the department promised to correct its problems.


New Jersey is just one of more than a dozen states, including Texas, having administrative, budget and quality control problems with their weatherization programs. Although the federal government has sent emissaries around the country to applaud weatherization efforts, the program has lagged well behind other federal programs in getting its work completed. Late this summer, 18 months into the stimulus, not one of the top 15 weatherization programs in the country had spent as much as 45 percent of the money they were given.

 

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org.


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Photo of insulation by flickr user Jack Amick, used via a Creative Commons license.

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