2,000th transportation project from stimulus underway–and it

Looks like things are moving along with the stimulus package and highway construction.

President Barack Obama today announced funding for the 2,000th transportation project under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“Just 41 days ago we announced funding for the first transportation project under ARRA and today we’re approving the 2,000th project,” said President Obama. “I am proud to utter the two rarest phrases in the English language – projects are being approved ahead of schedule, and they are coming in under budget.”

The 2,000th project is in Kalamazoo County, Mich., according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The $68 million project involves widening of I-94 from two lanes both east and westbound to three lanes in each direction.

But securing funding for these projects is apparently intense competition. Think The Ohio State University vs. University of Michigan. Or Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs. Or University of Alabama vs. Auburn University. You get the picture.

According to the U.S. DOT, state departments of transportation around the country have reported to the Federal Highway Administration intense competition by contractors for ARRA projects. Bids have been roughly 15 to 20 percent lower on average, and as much as 30 percent lower in some cases, than engineers anticipated.