"The purpose of the stimulus bill is to get the money out there to create jobs and to get people working," said Jim Berard, a spokesman for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which has tracked the speed with which states have put their highway stimulus funds to work. Committee chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn., has admonished several state governors for slow progress.
"The improvement of infrastructure is really a byproduct, a side benefit of (the stimulus)," Berard said. "So speed is of the essence."
The White House said Wednesday that thus far, roughly $2.2 billion in stimulus funds awarded to federal contractors has resulted in 30,383 jobs either being created or saved. States and municipalities are slated to report job totals for their stimulus spending later this month.