On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced funding for 191 new Recovery Act transit projects in 42 states and Puerto Rico. In making the more than $600 million in new awards, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) met an aggressive deadline to award 100 percent of its Recovery Act transit formula dollars by March 5.
Since President Obama signed the Recovery Act in February 2009, the FTA has awarded 881 grants totaling $7.5 billion, which means all the formula transit funds provided by the Recovery Act have now been "obligated" or committed to specific transit projects. Recovery Act transit projects have already generated enough work to employ thousands of people nationwide and activity is expected to ramp up even further in the months ahead as new projects break ground and equipment orders are fulfilled.
So far, Recovery Act funds have supported the purchase of nearly 12,000 buses, vans and rail vehicles; the construction or renovation of more than 850 transit facilities; and the performance of more than $620 million in preventive maintenance, which has helped to save transit service and jobs, while enhancing service reliability.
In addition to the direct employment impact of the projects, domestic bus, seating and railcar manufacturers have received orders that are helping boost production and support jobs. For example, Orion Bus, in Greensboro, N.C. has now received 10 contracts for nearly 300 buses with Recovery Act funds — orders the company says allowed it to maintain 176 jobs and Gillig Bus, in Hayward, Calif., has received orders for 790 buses with Recovery Act funds — work the company says has allowed them to support 395 jobs.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is making $48.1 billion available through the Recovery Act for all transportation projects, including highway and bridge, rail transit, small shipyards and airport construction and repairs nationwide. Of that, $36.8 billion already has been awarded.