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This is Governor John Baldacci.

Just a little more than two months ago, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery Act.

During a conference call Tuesday with Vice President Biden, he joked that the first 70 days have felt more like 70 years.

So much has happened in Maine – and the United States in a short time.

The goal of the Recovery Act was to quickly put federal resources to work creating jobs.

In Maine, we’re beginning to see real results already.

Pike Industries has started work on a critical project to rebuild Interstate 295 between Topsham and Brunswick.

The $31.4 million dollars project was funded by the Recovery Act and it’s going to create more than 800 jobs this spring, summer and fall.

And it will help to secure one of Maine’s most important commercial corridors.

As someone who travels around the state often, I can’t remember a time when I have been more excited to see “Construction Ahead” signs.

Every orange barrel means there are hardworking Mainers doing important work just right up the road.

On Friday, we visited Brunswick to announce that Maine had earned approval for $20 million dollars from the Recovery Act to improve the drinking water systems around the State.

The Recovery funds for drinking water, taken with other resources, will allow us to complete more than $40 million dollars worth of projects in 61 communities.

This money will create more jobs, improve public health and safety and it’s going to be able to promote economic development.

The funds for drinking water will touch nearly every part of the State, from Princeton in Washington County to Lewiston and Auburn, from Madawaska to Berwick.

Much of the money is going to go in to Maine’s drinking water infrastructure, which is more than 100 years old. It needs work. The support will make a real difference for many communities.

The improvements will allow these systems to serve more customers, allow for growth and greater economic development. We don’t always think about it, but if you want to build new businesses or homes, you have to be able to provide them with clean, safe drinking water.

And very importantly, these projects will put Mainers to work almost immediately.

From the very beginning, President Obama has emphasized that every penny spent on this Recovery Act will receive unprecedented scrutiny.

In Maine, I signed an executive order putting in place stringent oversight of how our State’s share of federal dollars will be spent.

We have developed a cooperative process with the Maine Legislature and developed an interactive Web site that allows everyone with a computer easy access to the latest information on the Recovery Act.

Since going live, the Recovery Web site has had more than 65,000 visitors, averaging roughly 2,200 hits a day.

Mainers understand the magnitude of the problems we face as part of this national recession, and they understand the unique opportunity the Recovery Act has given us to make things better.

New information is added to the site as it becomes available. For example, you can read the entire contract that Pike Industries signed for Interstate 295 project.

Plus we’re adding new features to the Web site to make it easier to use and more effective for tracking the funding coming into the State.

Maine is working diligently to put Recovery dollars to work as fast as possible, after all jobs are at stake.

But we are not cutting corners on transparency or accountability.

And on Thursday, I held a conference in Augusta that brought together the people who are responsible for dealing with the Recovery Act.

Since the Recovery Act was passed in late February I have had the opportunity to discuss its implementation with the President and Vice President.

The Administration has been very clear that the governors carry a large burden in ensuring that the Recovery Act funds are used wisely, immediately, and in a transparent fashion.

I welcome the responsibility.

We’re off to a good start, but our success requires that we maintain our focus.

As Maine works to address these problems caused by the national recession, we don’t forget our responsibilities to keep you informed about what’s going on.

We have many difficult days ahead, but we also have opportunities.

And if we are precise and hold ourselves to the highest level of accountability with the support provided by the federal government, we can put thousands of Mainers to work and build a stronger state for the future.

Thank you and have a good day.

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