The American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act( ARRA) (Public Law 111-5) was signed into law by President Obama within a month of his first taking office in 2009. Through it, the National Park Service was able to invest approximately $750 million in 800 projects across the country.
Often referred to as The Stimulus or The Recovery Act, ARRA provided funds for projects that were selected through a rigorous process and met specific criteria: address the highest priority mission needs; create the largest number of jobs in the shortest period of time; and create lasting value for the American people. The short timeframe for project completion was a critical factor in the choice of projects.
“A key to the efficient use of the ARRA funds made available for NPS transportation projects was the fact that we had a number of potential projects that were “shovel-ready,” said Mark Hartsoe, NPS Transportation Branch Chief. “In addition, we had our PTATS tracking system already in place, so we were able to quickly select and award projects and get them underway.
The implementation of the ARRA funds made use of staff and talents across the NPS. “I was involved in the technology side; I managed the Project Management Information System (PMIS), which is a project funding system, a project formulation system,” said Helen Price, who recently retired from the NPS. “My involvement was to get a list of projects into the system right away, and figure out what the reporting requirements were going to be.”
Helen worked with a team that included coordinators in each region who met on a regular basis to identify specific projects and make sure that they were tracking obligation rates. “We used existing data systems, but set up a “dashboard” that had information that was pulled from those systems,” said Helen. “That dashboard, which dealt just with the ARRA projects, was placed on Inside NPS. It had the financial data associated with ARRA, along with the project reporting data that came from the tracking at DSC, the PTATS system, compliance data, data that was in PMIS, and several other sources.” MORE >