GSA's Stimulus Project Czar
Bill Guerin, currently assistant commissioner for construction for the Public Buildings Service at the General Services Administration (GSA), has been appointed to head the new Recovery Act Program Management Office within the GSA. Although the office's scope is national, it will implement regional projects stemming from the stimulus, which includes $4.5 billion to make federal buildings green and an additional $750 million to renovate and construct federal buildings and courthouses. The office's staff will include experts in a variety of fields necessary to bring projects to fruition.
At the Public Buildings Service, Guerin oversaw more than $1 billion per year in capital investment, a large part of which was for the design and construction of federal buildings. The Public Buildings Service leads the design, construction, and management of thousands of federal facilities. Andrew Goldberg, associate senior director of federal relations at the AIA, said that Guerin's appointment is good news for architects. "His in-depth understanding of the role architects play in the design and construction process makes him an ideal choice," Goldberg said, noting that it is "good news for anyone who wants to ensure that GSA spends stimulus funds wisely, with good results."
The departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development recently announced a partnership and interagency task force that will guide transportation and housing investments. The task force will improve integrated regional housing, transportation, and land use planning efforts. The agencies will also develop "livability" measures for communities, redefine affordability, undertake joint research, and work to coordinate their entire roster of programs.
Schools Get Funding
The "Race to the Top Fund" will allow Education Secretary Arne Duncan to disperse $5 billion through a competitive grant process to school districts around the country. The fund, a small part of what the stimulus package directs toward education, is aimed at establishing career-long data systems to track student achievement, improving teacher effectiveness, and increasing support to the lowest-performing schools. The Washington Post reported that the stimulus will funnel about $100 billion into public schools, universities, and early childhood education. Department of Education spokesman Jim Bradshaw told ARCHITECT via e-mail that the primary sources of school modernization funding will be part of $48.8 billion in stimulus funds. The stimulus also allows states to issue $24.8 billion in bonds for school renovation, repairs, and construction.
Paulson Gets a Book Deal
Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is writing a tell-all book and will donate the proceeds to a hotline that helps homeowners prevent foreclosure. Paulson refused an advance on the book.