Tuesday, March 03, 2009

President Announces First Distribution Of Highway Stimulus Funds

Mar 3: President Obama addressed a crowd of 500 gathered at the Department of Transportation in Washington, DC to discuss the release of $26.6 billion in infrastructure spending for roads and bridges as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The President appeared along with Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood listen.

The President said in part, "Two weeks ago, I signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the most sweeping economic recovery plan in history. And already, its impact is being felt across this nation. Hardworking families can now worry a little less about next month's bills because of the tax cut they'll soon find in the mail. Renewable energy companies that were once downsizing are now finding ways to expand. And transportation projects that were once on hold are now starting up again -- as part of the largest new investment in America's infrastructure since President Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System.

"Of the 3.5 million jobs that will be created and saved over the next two years as a result of this recovery plan, 400,000 will be jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools, repairing our faulty levees and dams, connecting nearly every American to broadband, and upgrading the buses and trains that commuters take every day. Many of these projects will be coordinated by Secretary LaHood and all of you at the Department of Transportation. And I want you to know that the American public is grateful to public servants like you -- men and women whose work isn't always recognized, but whose jobs are critical to our nation's safety, security, and prosperity. You have never been more important than you are right now, and for that we are all grateful.

"Now, in the coming days and weeks, my administration will be announcing more details about the kinds of transportation projects that will be launched as part of the recovery plan. But today, I want to speak about an investment we are making in one part of our infrastructure. Through the Recovery Act, we will be investing $28 billion in our highways, money that every one of our 50 states can start using immediately to put people back to work. It's an investment being made at an unprecedented pace, thanks in large part to Joe Biden, who's leading the effort to get the money out the door quickly. Because of Joe, and because of all the governors and mayors, county and city officials who are helping implement this plan, I can say that 14 days after I signed our Recovery Act into law, we are seeing shovels hit the ground.

"As Secretary LaHood noted, the first contract will be awarded to American Infrastructure, a family business in Pennsylvania that will be resurfacing a road in Maryland. More than 100 other people will begin receiving funds today, as well. Over the next few weeks, we will launch more than 200 construction projects across this country, fueling growth in an industry that's been hard hit by our economic crisis. Altogether, this investment in highways will create or save 150,000 jobs by the end of next year, most of them in the private sector."

Access the complete comments of the President and Vice President (click here). Access a video of the presentation (click here). Access a state-by-state interactive map with the distribution of highway funds by category (click here). Access more about how the funds are being spent, including state-by-state and urban-suburban-rural breakdowns on the Recovery.gov website (click here).

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