Version 2.0 of spending site to debut in October

Spending Web site is being redesigned and upgraded

A redesigned and updated version of the federal government’s Web site for reporting under the economic stimulus law will go online by Oct. 10 to provide more mapping features and interactivity, the chairman of the board that oversees the site said today.

The new site, named Recovery.gov Version 2.0, will provide visitors with a “visually pleasing, user-friendly and highly interactive Web site,” Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, told a Senate panel. The site currently is named Recovery.gov. and that board oversees spending under the economic stimulus law.

“It will have a mapping capacity that will allow visitors to search for spending all the way down to their own neighborhoods or their congressional districts,” Devaney told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The date of operation for the new iteration of Recovery.gov coincides with Oct. 10 deadline when state agencies and other recipients of money under the stimulus law must submit detailed reports on how the money was spent and the number of jobs the spending created.

To prepare for those reports, about 14,000 recipients of funding have registered on a companion Web site, Federalreporting.gov, where they will enter data on use of the stimulus law funds, Devaney said.

To help state and local officials in the reporting, the Office of Management Budget has issued guidance and sponsored webinars and other events. Nonetheless, “there is still potential for reporting issues,” including concerns about data quality and data integrity, Devaney said.

“These obstacles will need to be overcome," he said. "If recipients do not report the required information – for whatever reason, mistake, neglect, or willfulness – the data on Recovery.gov will not be as insightful as it should be, which is a concern that I and the rest of the board have."

Robert Nabors, deputy director of OMB, said his office is continuing to provide guidance to support the reporting requirements and will deploy on-site support teams to state capitals and other locations.

The support teams will provide customer service. With direct access to the Recovery Board’s registrant database, they can see which recipients have or have not registered on Federalreporting.gov and walk recipients through the registration process if they have problems, Nabors said.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the senior Republican on the committee, said, “Progress on Recovery.gov initially has been slow, however, particularly when compared to some private sector alternatives.”

For example, a private company, Onvia, of Seattle, is tracking the stimulus law spending on its Web site, Recovery.org.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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