DOT Pushes Stimulus Payouts to $8.8 Billion

DOT Pushes Stimulus Payouts to $8.8 Billion

The Department of Transportation pushed a hefty $524 million out to states in the week ending Jan. 22 to reimburse them for construction project costs under last year’s stimulus law, raising the total DOT has paid out so far to $8.787 billion.

Some of that may have been catch-up from earlier in the month. DOT issued only $162 million in stimulus checks to states the week before, well below the average of roughly $300 million it has been disbursing for months.

In all, DOT will spend $48 billion on highway and bridge, airport, transit and inter-city passenger rail projects under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which became law Feb. 17, 2009, and was designed to spend most of its funds over two years.

So far, DOT said it has made $34.6 billion in funding commitments so states can get projects under way. Most of them are through the Federal Highway Administration, which has obligated $23.8 billion and paid out $6 billion.

Last week, President Obama announced administration backing for 13 major passenger rail corridors that involves parts of 31 states. Most of the $8 billion in stimulus grants will go into regular Amtrak train routes that run on freight-owned rail lines, for either service additions or upgrades to improve on-time performance, while some will go into true high-speed rail projects.

Still to come is a discretionary grant pool of $1.5 billion, which Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said can include some ocean port projects and others deemed of special national significance.

Contact John D. Boyd at jboyd@joc.com.