Checks sent out to states for stimulus projects from the Department of Transportation reached $8.26 billion through Jan. 15, a gain of about $162 million from a week earlier.
That is a slowing of the weekly pace that DOT usually maintained in recent months, when it often made weekly payouts of $250 million and $300 million. It paid a total of $308 million in the first two weeks of January, after ending 2009 with disbursements totaling $7.96 billion.
DOT has authorized $33.5 billion in spending on transportation infrastructure construction projects, which are dominated by its grants for road and bridge upgrades but include transit and airport spending as well.
In addition, DOT is expected soon to announce $9.5 billion in grants for freight and passenger rail systems to expand the development of inter-city passenger train service, and to make investments in high-value freight intermodal and port projects. But those grant announcements have been delayed long past their initial autumn timetable, and DOT has never said exactly when it will award them.
Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration says it has authorized projects under the nearly year-old American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that are valued at $23 billion. FHWA says it has already disbursed nearly $5.6 billion in stimulus funds to states to repay them for materials and labor on highways and bridges, and is backing more than $15 billion in projects currently under construction.
The government said stimulus spending by all agencies as of Jan. 15 – for projects and entitlement programs – totaled $172 billion, while tax cuts had injected another $93 billion. The full program that became law in February 2009 is expected to cost about $787 billion in spending and tax cuts, and has so far cost $265 billion.
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