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Education / Environment / Federal government / Policies

Stimulus: $20b for U.S. health IT; $101m for PA energy, $25m for PA school tech

State public school districts, colleges, and universities will be able to tap into more than $1 billion being set aside for Pennsylvania, including $25 million to update school technology.

Last Sunday we outlined Philadelphia’s “shovel-ready” tech proposals that could potentially be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and although it is still unclear what funds Philly will receive, we’re beginning to have a better picture since President Obama signed the bill.
Last week, The Morning Call reported that $101 million will be afforded to alternative energy investments through the state’s energy program. Some of that could go toward Philly’s proposals of installing 3,000 LED lamps in signalized intersections that could save the city $1 million per year in energy costs. It could also be funneled into plans for a Residential Solar Energy loan fund.
There’s good news for Health Camp Philadelphia, who followed up on our proposal post with hopes that electronic medical records could become a reality for medical institutions throughout the city. According to Modern Healthcare, $19.2 billion has been earmarked in the bill for health information technology. Gov. Ed Rendell spoke at the National Governors Association’s annual winter meeting on Saturday, and expressed support for long-term datelined provisions, such as the switch to electronic records. Some health care systems, like Albert Einstein in Philadelphia, have made in-roads on their own for an electronic switch, as we reported.

State public school districts, colleges, and universities will be able to tap into more than $1 billion being set aside for Pennsylvania, including $25 million to update school technology. And according to the Inquirer, $138 million of Pennsylvania’s education fund is specifically for the Philadelphia School District, which will receive between $40 million and $50 million for low-income children, $24 million in special education money, and an additional portion of $39 million up for grabs for state K-12 and higher education in the state.
President Obama warned mayors across the nation Saturday that he will keep a watchful eye on stimulus spending and “call out” mayors that spend money on pork projects. While merited, it is to be seen how the warning will affect Philadelphia’s project plans laid out in early February by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Rendell backed Pennsylvania’s mayors Sunday on Fox News, saying that he expects to put people to work on Pennsylvania’s “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects by May.
If one project stands out from the rest as one that could face President Obama scrutiny, it’s Philly’s proposal for a $115,000,000 expansion of the Central Library. While 300 new computers with high-speed Internet access would be a great advantage for the Central Library’s crowded computer lab, this project seems less pressing than what many struggling branches across the city face.
We’ll keep you updated on any Philly technology related stimulus news as it comes.

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