Stimulus Bucks to Start Flying

Working on the Highway

For example, around $27 billion was earmarked for departments of transportation in 50 states, said Jack Basso, director of program finance and management for the Washington, D.C.-based American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The agencies had until June 2009 to obtain Federal Highway Administration approval for projects tied to half of their allotted stimulus funds. Projects tied to the balance of funds had to be approved by March 2.

AASHTO estimates that more than 12,000 projects so far have been funded as a result of stimulus money, impacting the income of hundreds of thousands of workers employed by state DOTs, contractors, subcontractors, as well as manufacturers of materials such as asphalt and pipes, Basso said.

"With the collapse of the housing sector, the construction industry has been flat on its back," Basso said.

"Anyone who says the stimulus isn't creating jobs should recognize that this government spending is giving the construction industry a desperately needed boost."

Countered Issa: "I still lament the stimulus as a wasted opportunity to leverage $1 trillion in a $14 trillion economy. It's like keeping the Titanic buoyant for a period of time equal to 1/14 longer than it would have."

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