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Report: Colorado Receives High Marks on Stimulus Spending Transparency

Wed August 26, 2009 - West Edition
Kristen Wyatt

DENVER (AP) Colorado is getting high marks from a national government watchdog group on how well it explains where stimulus money is going.

The Washington-based Good Jobs First puts Colorado behind only Maryland in how well state Web sites track stimulus spending. Though all states have Web sites on the stimulus, some states provide only broad descriptions of how the money is being spent, with few dollar-amount details.

Colorado is one of only 10 states to provide contractor names and dollar awards for overall stimulus spending, and one of only four states to list jobs data connected to the spending.

“The whole point of [the stimulus] is to create jobs, so it seems like we ought to be keeping track of that,” said Danny Katz, executive director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, which is affiliated with the Good Jobs First group.

In a separate measure of how well transportation spending is tracked, Colorado ranked third. Colorado also was praised for providing spending totals for each county.

However, the report pointed out ways Colorado could improve. Authors said Colorado Web sites “bury” some information in secondary Web sites or digital “PDF” files.

Also, Colorado and almost all states were criticized for not showing how project locations follow patterns of economic distress. And only one state, South Carolina, lists whether roads projects are new roads or repairs to existing roads and bridges.

“With hundreds of millions of dollars coming into Colorado, it’s essential that citizens know and understand how the money is used,” Katz said.

Officials from Colorado’s recovery oversight team attended the announcement. New Media Director Chris Smith said that Colorado’s site draws about 900 to 1,500 visitors per weekday.

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