Colorado – April 23, 2009

Use of Funds

An estimated 90 percent of Recovery Act funding provided to states and localities nationwide in fiscal year 2009 (through Sept. 30, 2009) will be for health, transportation and education programs. The three largest programs in these categories are the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage awards, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, and highways.

Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) Funds

  • As of April 3, 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had made about $227 million in increased FMAP grant awards to Colorado.
  • As of April 16, 2009, the state had not drawn down any of its increased FMAP grant awards.
  • State officials noted they are working to ensure that the state is in compliance with Recovery Act provisions governing eligibility for the increased FMAP.

Transportation—Highway Infrastructure Investment

  • Colorado was apportioned about $404 million for highway infrastructure investment on March 2, 2009, by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • As of April 16, 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation had obligated $118.4 million for 19 projects; the Colorado Department of Transportation had advertised 17 of these projects, and 5 of the 17 had been awarded.
  • Colorado's Recovery Act transportation funds are being directed to projects that can be advertised within 90 to 180 days of the passage of the act, can be completed within 3 years, and will result in job creation.
  • Projects include resurfacing roads and replacing highway bridges in the Denver metropolitan area, as well as improvements to mountain highways.
  • Colorado will request reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Transportation as the state makes payments to contractors.

U.S. Department of Education State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (Initial Release)

  • Colorado was allocated about $509 million from the initial release of these funds on April 2, 2009, by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Before receiving the funds, states are required to submit an application that provides several assurances to the U.S. Department of Education. These include assurances that they will meet maintenance of effort requirements (or that they will be able to comply with waiver provisions) and that they will implement strategies to meet certain educational requirements, including increasing teacher effectiveness, addressing inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers, and improving the quality of state academic standards and assessments.
  • The Governor is working with the state legislature on a plan for spending the fiscal stabilization funds Colorado will receive to support education. Once legislative concurrence is obtained, the plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. A state official estimated that could happen as early as the week of April 20, 2009.

Colorado is also receiving additional Recovery Act funds under other programs, such as those under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) (commonly known as No Child Left Behind); programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B; programs under the Workforce Investment Act; and Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants. These are described throughout this appendix.

Safeguarding & TransparencyBack to top

As the state makes its plans, some officials raised concerns about how well the state is positioned to track and oversee Recovery Act expenditures and identified general areas of vulnerability in spending Recovery Act funds. For example, Colorado's accounting system is 18 years old, which will make it challenging for the state to tag and track Recovery Act funds, according to state officials. State officials are determining what approach they will use in tracking funds and told us they currently plan to create an accounting fund to track state agencies' use of Recovery Act funds, employing a centrally defined budget-coding structure to distinguish between Recovery Act and non-Recovery Act federal funds. State officials were also concerned about tracking funds that bypass the state and flow directly to local entities.

Assessing the Effects of SpendingBack to top

The state is making plans to assess the effects of Recovery Act spending on Colorado's economy. Some agencies plan to use their existing performance indicators to assess the effects of recovery, while others have received guidance including new indicators. Some officials identified concerns with recipients' ability to submit reports more quickly or more frequently than normal, while some questioned how precisely economic effects can be measured.

For More InformationBack to top

The above excerpts are taken from GAO's April 23, 2009 Bimonthly Review of the Recovery Act:

Recovery Act: As Initial Implementation Unfolds in States and Localities, Continued Attention to Accountability Issues Is Essential
GAO-09-580, April 23, 2009
For more information on Colorado within the report, please see the following pages:
Appendix V: Colorado pages: 93 – 104
GAO Contact
portrait of of Robin M. Nazzaro

Robin M. Nazzaro

Director, Natural Resources and Environment

(202) 512-6246

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Brian J. Lepore

Director, Defense Capabilities and Management

(202) 512-4523