AASHTO releases report on stimulus

by Wally Northway

Published: February 10,2010

Tags: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ARRA, construction, jobs, recession, stimulus, transportation

A new report — “Projects and Paychecks: a One-Year Report on State Transportation Successes under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” — finds that more than 280,000 jobs were created and more than 12,250 transportation projects are underway as a result of the jobs bill signed into law one year ago.

The comprehensive study, released by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in conjunction with state transportation departments (DOTs) in Nevada, Michigan, Georgia and Rhode Island, finds that one year after its passage, state DOTs have set a record of speed and efficiency, putting 77 percent of the $34.3 billion provided for highways and transit out to bid on 12,250 transportation projects. The 9,240 projects under construction total $20.6 billion. As a result of the Recovery Act, 280,000 direct, on-project jobs have been created or sustained across the country.

“That’s a lot of projects and paychecks,” said Larry “Butch” Brown, AASHTO president and executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. “U.S. unemployment in the construction trades has surpassed 20 percent. Recovery dollars are helping to rescue thousands of workers like Frank Anzenberger, a 30-year construction veteran who’d been unemployed for more than six months before he was called back to work on a recovery project in Michigan.”

With bids running as low as 30 percent below estimates, the study finds that states stretched federal dollars even further, creating more jobs and more miles of improvements. California, Georgia, and Texas awarded more than 90 percent of their highway contracts below original cost estimates.

The report, which includes data from the states, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Federal Highway Administration, also found an impressive list of completed projects. As of Jan. 7, 2010, 1,125 bridges had been improved or replaced, 21,400 miles of pavement had been resurfaced or widened and 1,700 safety traffic management projects had been put into place.

“Projects and Paychecks proves just how big a role stimulus is playing to keep Americans working,” said John Horsley, AASHTO executive director. “In January, state DOTs identified more than 9,800 additional ‘ready-to-go’ projects worth $79 billion. Congress needs to move quickly to pass another Jobs Bill. This study proves transportation projects can deliver hundreds of thousands of jobs for America.”

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