States meet deadline to put all Recovery Act highway dollars to work

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At a Recovery Act construction site outside Orlando, Fla., Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Monday, March 1, announced that every state and the District of Columbia met the March 2 Recovery Act deadline to “obligate” – or commit to specific projects – 100 percent of their highway Recovery funds. Once funds are obligated to a project, contracts can be bid, workers can be hired, equipment and supplies can be purchased, and work can begin on construction projects that create jobs and drive economic growth. Every state met the target by Feb. 26, and more than 30 of them did so at least a week ahead of schedule, putting a total of $26.6 billion to work on highway projects nationwide.

“Construction projects across the country are already creating jobs and upgrading our nation’s infrastructure, but we’re just getting started,” Biden says. “Because these projects were funded on time and, in many cases, under budget, we’re going to be able to put even more people to work improving our highways just as the spring construction season kicks into high gear.”

In just one year, funding from the Recovery Act has improved more than 33,000 miles of pavement across the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Of the more than 12,000 highway projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia funded through the $26.6 billion Recovery Act investment in highway construction, almost 7,800 are under way – and activity on infrastructure projects like these is expected to ramp up even further this spring as the weather thaws and projects obligated over the winter break ground.

“I’ve been to Recovery projects all across the country, and I always hear the same thing from contractors – this work allows them to keep people working and hire new people, and that’s what it’s all about,” LaHood says. “The states have done a great job in getting all these projects out the door, but to create more jobs and continue strengthening the economy, we have more work to do.”