July 20, 2009
Nine major public transit positions available in this week's classified ads!
DOT Distributes Almost Half of ARRA Funds
U.S. DOT has distributed almost half of its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding—more than $21 billion—and more than 6,300 transportation projects have been approved, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a July 15 speech at the Center for National Policy in Washington, DC.
“For public transit, an unprecedented $3.2 billion in grants has already been awarded—and another $5 billion is in the pipeline,” LaHood continued. He called his department’s more than $48 billion in ARRA funds “an enormous opportunity for us, and we’re working overtime to make the most of it.”
The secretary emphasized that—while some people may think ARRA relief isn’t coming fast enough—less than six months have passed since the introduction of the act. “It’s important to remember that the Recovery Act was designed from the beginning as an 18-month program that rolls out in stages, using well-established procedures wherever possible to channel funds to states and other stakeholders,” he said, adding, “I think we have a great deal to show for our investments.”
U.S. DOT will begin awarding part of the $8 billion in ARRA grants for intercity and high-speed passenger rail projects in September. LaHood called the response to this program “tremendous. We’ve received hundreds of proposals from 40 states and the District of Columbia.” An additional $1.5 billion in discretionary grants for multimodal transportation projects becomes available in the winter.
According to LaHood, half the states have obligated at least half of their ARRA funding to economically distressed areas.
“The American people have said loud and clear that they want us to rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges, and build clean and green public transportation systems to help ease traffic congestion,” he stated. “We’re putting Americans to work doing just that. And in the months ahead, we will work with Congress to find creative new ways to finance the kinds of transportation systems and services that Americans need and deserve for the 21st century.”