VP Biden visits Illinois for 5 year anniversary of federal jobs stimulus plan

By WEEK Reporter

February 20, 2014 Updated Feb 20, 2014 at 1:20 PM CDT

GRANITE CITY, Ill. -- This week marks the five year anniversary of the controversial American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The roughly $800 billion measure was intended to put millions of Americans back to work. President Obama signed the stimulus plan into law in 2009, just one month after taking office.

The measure funds $12 billion in Illinois Projects like the construction of a new Mississippi River harbor in Granite City.

"The new harbor will be the transportation gateway so businesses will be able to ship 1.5 to 2 million more tons of goods a year. That's jobs, not just here but the jobs in the factories that remain open because of the access to the water that you are providing," Vice President Joe Biden.

The Illinois Republican Party says the stimulus plan failed, saying the state's unemployment rate of 8.6 percent has been virtually unchanged since the measure took effect.