The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that $48.8 billion in highway funds now is available to state departments of transportation for federal projects through the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act. “With spring and summer highway construction seasons just beginning, these funds will help make it easier for states to put people back to work and begin long-term projects,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says.
The HIRE Act, which was signed into law last month, included a provision that extended funding authority for surface transportation programs through Dec. 31. The law provides $40.1 billion from the Highway Trust Fund for highway programs for FY 2010 and restores $8.7 billion to state DOTs that was rescinded last year due to a provision in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users surface transportation program authorizing legislation enacted in 2005.
SAFETEA-LU expired Sept. 30, 2009, and since then, Congress has passed a series of small short-term funding extensions based on SAFETEA-LU. The provision included in the HIRE Act that extended highway programs through the end of this year now allows the administration time to work with Congress on a more comprehensive long-term authorization proposal.