The Department of Transportation ended 2009 with $7.955 billion in money already disbursed from last February’s stimulus program, up about $1.4 billion from the end of November.
DOT is expected soon to announce a major series of grants -- from an $8.5 billion fund for passenger rail expansion that will include awards to upgrade existing freight railroad lanes, and from a $1.5 billion package that DOT Secretary Ray LaHood can target at his discretion to projects that can have national economic impact.
Those discretionary grants are expected to include some port and intermodal projects not addressed in other programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
In all, DOT has $48.1 billion to award, and said that as of Dec. 31 it had made $32.791 billion available so that states could launch projects. Those that are either completed or far enough along to submit bills trigger the federal payouts to reimburse states.
The DOT-administered money has been funding highway and bridge repairs, airport runway improvements and upgrades of transit systems. Most is spent by the Federal Highway Administration, which said it has so far obligated $22.528 billion for projects and paid out $5.432 billion.
Some other agencies than DOT are also tapping stimulus funds for freight-related spending, from Commerce Department economic development grants to build some industrial park infrastructure to Coast Guard spending on rail bridge upgrades over navigable waters.
In all, the stimulus is projected to total $787 billion over two years. The government’s Recovery.gov Web site said as of Dec. 31 it had generated $92.8 billion in tax cuts, and paid out $68.5 billion by all agencies in contracts, grants and loans plus another $95.7 billion through entitlement programs including health and unemployment benefits.
Contact John D. Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.