From the Fact Check Desk: The 2,000th Stimulus Project

By Caitlin Taylor

Apr 13, 2009 2:02pm

ABC News’ Lisa Chinn reports:

President Obama today touted the approval of the 2,000th transportation project under the aegis of the Recovery Act . 

At an event at the US Department of Transportation in Washington, DC, Mr. Obama said he was "proud to utter the two rarest phrases in the English language – projects are being approved ahead of schedule, and they are coming in under budget.”

We fact checked that statement and found a couple of problems.

While it is true that there are 2,000 transportation projects that have been approved by the Department of Transportation, there are not  2000 projects underway, as the president’s remarks might lead you to believe.   

That of course, begs the question:  how many Recovery Act transportation projects actually have begun? 

The administration isn’t saying.

And furthermore, states aren’t required by law to post what they’ve actually started until October, so we won’t really know until then.

As for projects ‘coming in under budget’ – that doesn’t mean that projects have been completed, as the phrase would suggest.  Instead, the Department of Transportation explains it this way: "Bids are coming in consistently under engineering estimates due to incredible competition for this work." 

Which means, in plain speak, that the contractors are bidding cheap….but anybody who ever had work done knows the bid isn’t always what the cost turns out to be.

– Lisa Chinn

Please Note: Secretary LaHood will be a guest on ABCNews.com’s "Top Line" Tuesday at noon ET.

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