Next Challenge on Stimulus: Spending All That Money
Minnesota’s Sage Electrochromics Inc. has been ready for months to move on just the sort of project the Obama administration hopes will bolster the U.S. economy: a $65 million factory that would make energy-saving windows and generate 250 new jobs.
So what’s holding it up? The Energy Department, whose fledgling loan-guarantee office has yet to approve a single project, including the proposed Sage glass factory, since the loan program launched in early 2007.
President Barack Obama plans to rely heavily on agencies like the Energy Department to approve contracts and issue loan guarantees and grants at a record clip in the $789 billion stimulus plan.
But there are signs that parts of the federal bureaucracy will need an overhaul to handle the huge workload heading their way. Such worries are apparent at the Energy Department, which will play a key role in Mr. Obama’s bid to revive the economy and wean the country off oil.