Utah stimulus website gets facelift

The State of Utah has released a revamped recovery.utah.gov, allowing Utahns to stay informed about the receipt and use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding awarded to the state.

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert said the re-launched website raised the bar for government transparency in Utah. “Utah is committed to accountable, responsible and transparent use of taxpayer dollars, whether they are collected at the local, state or federal level,” Gov. Herbert said in a statement.

The new site features information designed to make information readily available to answer three main questions:

  1. What State agencies have been awarded ARRA funding and for what programs?
  2. How are state agencies using ARRA awards?
  3. What parts of Utah are benefiting from ARRA funds?

To answer this last question, Utah enlisted the help of ESRI, a leader in geographic information system (GIS). ESRI powers the visual elements of recovery.utah.gov by allowing visitors to click on an interactive map to view more detailed information. Users are able to see where certain stimulus projects are taking place, how much money is allocated for different categories of funding (education, transportation, etc.) and see the status of those projects.

The new website also allows state agencies to feed data directly into a content management system, updated monthly. This new system provides increased reliability and accuracy in reporting, by allowing agencies to report real project expenditures and data to the public.

The newly designed site partners with transparent.utah.gov, launched by Governor Herbert in 2008 to provide transaction-level information specific to ARRA awards. And it builds on the state’s first recovery website, which garnered 0 out of 100 possible points from the Good Jobs First’s 51-state study of state stimulus websites entitled Show Us the Stimulus.

Also today, the federal Recovery.gov got its new facelift. The website features pictorial representations of spending data, advanced search functions, multimedia tutorials and some downloads. The platform runs in the Amazon cloud, a Web-based hosting service, and is supported by the Microsoft SharePoint content management system, Microsoft SQL data warehouse and ESRI mapping services, according to a report by Nextgov.

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