Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has made its way to businesses and government agencies across the nation. In July, Chadwick Matlin hit the road for a three-week trip across the nation to get a first-hand look at how the stimulus funding was being used and what effect it has had on the communities he visited.

Matlin started his trip in New York City and three weeks later he arrived in Richland, WA. Along the way, he blogged, took pictures, and tweeted about his trip. The entire journey is archived on The Big Money website in a feature called Recessionary Road.

In Lansing, MI, Matlin came across a group of teenagers that were in a paid construction internship. Each of the teenagers earned $7.50/hour, courtesy of the stimulus plan. Once these teens graduate from high school, they’ll already have the experience needed to begin a higher-paying construction job. With weatherization and green building projects increasing in popularity, these skills will be in high demand.

Lansing’s sewer system also received stimulus funding. Thanks to the Clean Water Act, the city needed to upgrade its sewer system. The project has gone on for decades but with Michigan’s dire financial situation, the city didn’t have funds to continue the project in 2009. In comes stimulus funding and the city can continue the project.

In Austin, TX, Matlin got a first hand look at a weatherization project. Weatherization projects where one of the more specific aspects of the Recovery Act; weatherization could help homeowners save money on their energy bill through a reduction in overall energy use.

“Some myth-busting to begin with: Weatherization—an imposing term that brings to mind solar panels, torn-down walls, and smashed energy meters—isn't actually that impressive. It's really rather drab: a couple of guys with some hammers, a few glass panes, and an insulation truck full of what's essentially heat-trapping cotton candy.” Source: The Big Money

These are just a few snippets from Maltin’s cross-country trek. He took the stimulus funding news from a national level right down to the streets. He met with real Americans to discuss how the stimulus funds were helping Main Street America recover from this financial crisis.

Photo by R.P. Piper