RICK EARLE: Here's exactly how some of it was spent in our area: One of the biggest recipients, locally, the University of Pittsburgh–$317 million dollars. A lot of that money went to research studies like immune escape in human cancer. CMU got $41 million for studies such as innovating super computing molecular dynamics. The Pittsburgh school district received $71 million. The Allegheny Institute’s Eric Montarti says that money delayed the inevitable.
ERIC MONTARTI: Now we see that just put off basically what has become the day of reckoning for the state budget and the fiscal condition of school districts.
EARLE: Perhaps the most controversial project in our area, the North Shore Connector to received $63 million. Ironically, that's the same deficit now facing the port authority.
MONTARTI: How are we going explain to our riders and taxpayer that we're broke, can't run the buses, going to cut service, lay people off, and here's a new expansion of our system.
EARLE: Montarti contends the stimulus program failed to deliver. He points to an unemployment rate that hovered around 7 percent before and after stimulus. While the state received $33 billion in stimulus money, it created or saved 136,000 jobs. The cost per job? $242,647.
MONTARTI: I think on those measures—the unemployment rate and then the cost per job–cost per job, you have to be much more on the skeptical side.
EARLE: But supporters like Energy Sec. Steven Chu say it worked, citing the automobile industry as a prime example.
CHU: It was a good decision. The stimulus money, the loan program for ford. Ford is making fabulous cars. GM, Chrysler they're back.
EARLE: Now, in most cases, stimulus funding was allocated for specific projects. So, for instance, the port authority had no choice but to use the money for the North Shore Connector.