Federal transportation construction programs spent $3.145 billion through Sept. 18 on highways, bridges and other repairs ranging from transit systems to airports to inland ports and railroads.
The Department of Transportation, in the latest weekly report on the Recovery.gov Web site, said the total for amounts it has disbursed was up from $2.882 billion as of Sept. 11.
Although DOT also oversaw voucher requests in one of the most dramatic stimulus programs – the $3 billion spending on cash-for-clunkers vouchers to spur consumers to trade in older automobiles and buy new ones – that program was created by from a separate stimulus measure approved this summer.
The clunkers program has already paid out about $2.7 billion in vouchers to car dealerships, running through the money in about four weeks this summer. It helped clear car lot inventories so much that auto manufacturers began to reopen closed assembly lines to restock their dealers.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, DOT has made nearly $29 billion available for approved projects. Once it approves an application, states can begin awarding contracts. But it can take months before the project is far enough along for states to submit bills to DOT for reimbursement, when it shows up as payouts.
Yet to come are the first DOT grants from its $8 billion high-speed rail fund. Applications were due into the Federal Railroad Administration Aug. 24, but an FRA spokesman said Sept. 25 that the agency was still processing the applications and was not ready to schedule any announcements.
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood could soon start announcing the first grants from his separate $1.5 billion discretionary fund for projects he deems especially worthy. The application deadline was Sept. 15, and DOT says it received nearly 1,400 requests that totaled $57 billion. Many of those projects may not begin spending money until 2010.
Contact John D. Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.