Weatherization stimulus program called a successby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Despite getting off to a slow start, state officials say Minnesota's stimulus-funded home weatherization program has been a success.
Two years ago the state got $132 million in federal stimulus money to help low-income people cut their utility bills by installing insulation and tuning up boilers and furnaces.
Hangups with the U.S. Labor Department meant slow progress at first. But Minnesota Department of Commerce spokeswoman Nicole Garrison-Sprenger says now nearly $100 million has been spent. And she says it's helped create or retain hundreds of jobs in the state.
"There was a study done by the University of Minnesota Extension that looked at for every dollar spent on weatherization, there was an additional $1.09 in economic activity in Minnesota," she said.
Garrison-Sprenger says Minnesota will likely weatherize 17,000 homes before the cash runs out.
She says the Weatherization Assistance Program created or retained an estimated 570 direct jobs in Minnesota.
Minnesota ranks 10th in the amount of federal cash received for the program and uses the money efficiently according to the U.S. Department of Energy.