Many thanks to the folks at Missouri DOT who have recorded a great interview with Keith Miller, our latest Voice of the Recovery Act. Keith is project superintendent on a bridge rebuilding effort in Tuscumbia.
The interview is important because you'll see a front-line guy who gets it--who sees how Recovery Act money not only creates jobs on his project, but also ripples outward through the economy.
Because Keith manages the materials delivered for the project, he has a firsthand view of how the benefits of stimulus grants reach beyond the specific projects funded.
"All the suppliers--the factories that manufacture the steel, the companies that make the concrete--it distributes--there's a lot of cash that comes into their hands that wouldn't if these projects weren't going."
As a supervisor, Keith also sees how local businesses are getting benefits from newly employed bridgeworkers who are buying lunch at local eateries and fuel for their commutes at local gas stations.
"It helps the local community as much as it does the workers who are doing the work. It spreads out more than you'd think."
It's great to see the jobs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act creates directly. But it's also gratifying to see it stimulating the economy indirectly. Through materials and equipment for the job--yes--but also through the retail services that support the Tuscumbia bridge site's new workers.
Through the food they can buy and the cars they can buy parts for. Through the school supplies and clothes they can now afford for their kids.
And it's great that we can do all of that and, at the same time, bring America's transportation networks into the 21st century. As Keith says, "I'm glad to see they're putting money into transportation because that's our lifeline--that's how we get food and supplies from one place to the other."
This is stimulus, and Keith Miller gets it.