On Tuesday, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood marked the release of $26.6 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to states and local transportation authorities to repair and build highways, roads and bridges.
The release of the funds came eight days earlier than required by law and took place before more than 500 headquarter employees at the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT).
“President Obama is keeping his promise to the American people and he is doing it ahead of schedule,” said Secretary LaHood. “This is a long-overdue investment in our transportation infrastructure and in jobs for Americans.”
State highway departments have already identified more than 100 other transportation projects across the country where construction can start within the month, totaling more than $750 million. That number is expected to grow substantially as more states submit certifications and begin to receive project approvals.
Each proposed project must be approved by the department’s Federal Highway Administration. Each state’s governor must certify that their proposed projects meet certain conditions and that the state will use ARRA funds in addition to, and not to replace, state funding of transportation projects. The U.S. DOT will monitor state compliance and track job creation. The projects will be posted on the Web for the public to see, with information on projects accessible at www.recovery.gov.
President Obama’s visit to U.S. DOT headquarters marks the first by a sitting U.S. President with his Vice President. At the ceremony the President unveiled new logos for government-wide projects completed under the ARRA and the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery logo for transportation projects completed under the ARRA.