The Department of Transportation is still sending checks to states under the 2009 stimulus package, with reimbursements for completed work reaching $27.1 billion through March 31.
That reflects payouts of $445 million in the latest three weeks since March 11, according to a progress report on Recovery.org, and $164 million in the final week of the month. For the first three months of 2011, the DOT has reimbursed states over $2.3 billion for completed DOT-backed projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
But much more is on the way. The DOT had obligated $45.2 billion through March 31 of the $48.1 billion in ARRA funds it was allocated two years ago. So its obligated totals are about $18 billion more than it has so far paid out for finished projects.
Just last week the department quit taking applications for a new round of $2.43 billion in passenger rail grants, which mostly improve tracks in freight-owned or shared lanes. Most of that latest grant pool was leftover from ARRA funds that Florida previously rejected, along with some grant funding from the 2010 budget year.
The bulk of the DOT's ARRA spending has gone to road and bridge projects under the Federal Highway Administration. That agency said of 13,300 projects it backed, 5,300 are under construction and 7,100 have been completed. One that just got under way is the final phase of a freeway extension project near the heavily used freight trucking port of Otay Mesa, Calif., near San Diego on the U.S.-Mexico border.
So far in April, the DOT has been busy adding to its numbers of obligated ARRA funds under its intercity passenger rail program. Even as a government shutdown appeared close on April 8 over a budget standoff in Congress, the DOT finalized agreements allowing states to move ahead on projects backed by $300 million in federal grants. That would push the obligated total to about $45.5 billion.