Shovel-Ready Projects Ready for Light to Turn Green

States and cities are ready to cash the government's stimulus checks.

ByABC News
March 4, 2009, 6:54 PM

March 4, 2009— -- In cities and towns across this country, construction companies are already hiring workers, getting ready for the projects that will get greenlighted for funds from the stimulus package.

The Obama administration has said that the economic stimulus plan will immediately target construction and repair projects that are "shovel ready," investing directly in the nation's roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.

Obama called the plan "the largest new investment in national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s."

With hundreds of millions in the pipeline from Washington, Brian May, who posts jobs for contractors across Iowa on his Industry People Group, a career Web site for the construction industry, says contractors are hiring.

"One company is looking for 30 to 40 workers this year," May said. "Anyone from flaggers, crane operators, truck drivers, foremen."

In the five weeks that May has posted jobs, they've heard from 60 contractors who are looking to hire.

The U.S. Department of Transportation normally spends $550 million a year in road projects in Iowa alone. Now, with the influx of government funds from the stimulus package, they are banking on an additional $380 million.

In Silver Spring, Md., in the past two weeks, a construction company has called back 59 employees that they had laid off. The company is hoping to call back nearly 300 more.

Its first project is repairing a Maryland road that hasn't been resurfaced in 17 years.

"We actually have projects in every county in the state of Maryland that we're planning to fund with stimulus plans," said Neil Pedersen, Maryland highway administrator.