The Department of Transportation paid out $23.63 billion through Dec. 3 to reimburse states for stimulus projects to improve their road, airport, rail or transit infrastructure.
That is up $205 million from one week earlier, and more than $1.6 billion since the end of October, according to the Recovery.gov weekly reports.
The DOT also said it had made available $40.665 billion for specific projects by Dec. 3, just slightly higher than a week earlier and compared with $48.1 billion the department was authorized to disburse under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
That means the DOT has more than $7 billion left of ARRA funds to obligate and is pushing to commit the remaining money as fast as it can by nailing down implementing agreements with states. That is virtually all in its $8 billion intercity passenger rail program, where the DOT is already re-allocating money that was rejected by governors-elect of Ohio and Wisconsin. Not counting those funds, under $1 billion is formally committed.
Meanwhile, Republicans who are poised to take over the House of Representatives are making plans to cut as much as $12 billion in overall stimulus money that is not already obligated under the accounts for discretionary contracts, grants and loans. And most of that pot of money is under the DOT.
But the DOT is still finalizing project agreements. On Dec. 13, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced that a new accord just signed with the Michigan Department of Transportation cleared the way for that state to use a $30 million ARRA grant to help pay for a $79 million Black River Bridge replacement at Port Huron.
That project will separate local from international traffic headed to Sarnia, Ont.; the bridge leads to the second-busiest truck corridor between the U.S. and Canada, which carries 14 percent of their cross-border trade.
-- Contact John D. Boyd at email@example.com.