Vice President Joe Biden today announced that 10,000 transportation projects are now under way in all 50 states and the District of Columbia thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), a.k.a. “the stimulus.”
Projects are considered under way when a contractor has been hired, the project has received official notice to proceed, and work has begun.
This milestone comes just more than a year after the Recovery Act was signed into law and as the spring construction season is getting into full swing.
Biden made the announcement as part of a visit to North Carolina – the state where the 10,000th project, the Sanford Bypass, will break ground.
The contractor, DHG Infrastructure, says it is hiring more than 45 employees to work on the project. The $26 million project, which was accelerated by the Recovery Act, will redirect commercial truck traffic away from the heart of the city of Sanford, relieving congestion and maintenance problems, and increasing access for businesses to relocate and expand in the area.
“The 10,000 transportation projects under way are already helping put us on the road to economic recovery, but there is even more to come,” said Vice President Biden in a press statement from the U.S. Department of Transportation. “This spring, Recovery Act projects will pick up the pace across the country, providing even more jobs improving America’s roads, highways and bridges.”
The U.S. DOT asserts that that in the last year, the Recovery Act has improved more than 33,000 miles of pavement across the United States; helped purchase nearly 12,000 buses, vans and rail vehicles; helped construct or renovate more than 850 transit facilities and provided more than $620 million in preventive maintenance. This helped save and create jobs, and maintained and enhanced the nation’s transportation network. In addition to the 10,000 projects already under way, construction activity is expected to ramp up even further in the next few months as temperatures warm and new projects break ground.
“Every new Recovery Act project means workers back on the job, paying their rent or mortgage, putting food on the table for their families,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in the same U.S. DOT press statement. “These 10,000 projects are strengthening our economy and creating jobs right now, and there are more projects still to come this spring.”
During the first week of March, the U.S. Department of Transportation successfully met an aggressive deadline to “obligate” – or commit funds to specific projects – 100 percent of their Recovery Act highway and transit formula dollars. That important milestone means that for every Recovery Act project, contracts can be bid, workers can be hired and construction can begin on projects that create jobs and drive economic growth.
In addition to the Sanford Bypass Project, some other major Recovery Act-funded projects under construction include the following:
I-4/Selmon Expressway in Tampa. Because of $105 million in Recovery Act funds, construction began earlier this month on the $653 million I-4/Selmon Expressway Crosstown Connector in Tampa. The project will provide direct access for the more than 12,000 commercial trucks that travel through downtown to and from the Port of Tampa every day.
DART Orange Line in Dallas. Recovery Act funds totaling $61.2 million are helping Dallas Area Rapid Transit construct the 14-mile Orange Line, which will eventually link Downtown Dallas and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Nelsonville Bypass in Southeast Ohio. Ohio is constructing a new, 8.5 mile, four-lane highway to divert freight traffic from U.S. 33, which bottlenecks in the town of Nelsonville. Recovery Act funds totaling $138 million are helping fund this final upgrade of the U.S. 33 corridor in southeast Ohio that will take traffic off local roads, which carry 1,700 trucks a day on one of the busiest truck routes in the state.
Merritt Parkway, near Fairfield, Conn. Recovery Act funds in the amount of $67 million are improving safety for the estimated 60,000 daily drivers who use the Merritt Parkway by widening shoulders and installing or updating guard rails along 9.3 miles of one of the East Coast’s most congested commuter routes.
South Westnedge Avenue Interchange on I-94 near Kalamazoo, Mich. Last fall, the Recovery Act fully funded this $47.7 million project to reconstruct the interchange and ease traffic congestion along this key Midwest corridor that serves an estimated 87,000 drivers daily. One additional lane will be added in each direction to widen the road from four lanes to six, allowing cars and trucks to move through Kalamazoo more safely and easily.