The U.S. Department of Transportation’s payments to states for completed stimulus projects reached $29.92 billion as of July 15, and were on a pace to easily top the $30 billion mark by now.
The Recovery.gov Web site also showed that DOT payouts have been growing at more than $100 million a week, and the department paid out $300 million in the two weeks since the end of June. It has paid out more than $5 billion since the start of 2011.
Under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the DOT has formally committed about $45.7 billion of the $48 billion it was given to spend, and has made initial awards of the remaining funds.
It pays states and other approved entities when they complete construction projects, but the formal obligation contracts allow work to get under way. Most of its money has been spent on highway and bridge construction, with the rest spread among projects to upgrade or build new airport, passenger and freight rail and port facilities.
The DOT said of 13,300 projects approved by the Federal Highway Administration, 8,600 have been completed and more than 4,300 are now under way.
A number of projects have clear freight-sector benefits, plus aiding passenger networks. Earlier this month the DOT said an ARRA-funded highway bypass in Bella Vista, Ark., where work was just starting, would eventually be part of an Interstate 49 corridor that would move freight between Canada and the Port of New Orleans. Other stimulus funds were helping restore Florida East Coast Railway service to the Port of Miami.
Billions in stimulus dollars have gone to help expand or speed up Amtrak passenger service, and host freight railroad have gained efficiencies through many of the projects.
Amtrak says the work is helping draw more users who would otherwise be adding to highway traffic; this year its ridership will top 30 million for the first time.
-- Contact John D. Boyd at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/jboydjoc