Caltrans: 90 percent of stimulus money awarded

New information compiled by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) confirms that close to 90 percent of California’s transportation projects funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) have been awarded to contractors, allowing construction to start.

California received more ARRA, a.k.a. “stimulus,” dollars for transportation than any other state –- nearly $2.6 billion for 982 highway, local street, rail, and port infrastructure projects –- and 853 have been awarded.

“California is effectively spending Recovery Act funds, and we are delivering on our promise to get economic recovery money out on the street as quickly as possible and put people to work,” said Caltrans Director Cindy McKim in a written press statement from Caltrans. “From day one, our focus has been and continues to be ensuring that California gets the maximum benefit from the Recovery Act.”

The new data also show that at $847 million California outpaces all other states but Texas in reported Recovery Act transportation spending. California’s monthly spending more than tripled this year from $40 million in February to $130 million in September.

“We worked multiple shifts putting many people to work on a $40 million Recovery Act project that built five new bridges and widened five miles of State Route 91 in Santa Ana Canyon,” Paul Von Berg, executive vice president of Brutoco Engineering & Construction, the contractor for the project, said in a prepared statement. “We completed the project in less than a year, so the Recovery Act funding was definitely spent in a timely manner.”

California law gave local communities greater control over where and how to spend their share of Recovery Act transportation money -– roughly $1.6 billion for 867 projects distributed to cities, counties, and local agencies, according to Caltrans.

The Recovery Act has enabled California to catch up on what it the states calls “a backlog of critical transportation infrastructure needs.”

The ARRA funding is helping California address the following needs:

·    $1 billion for 678 projects that are helping restore, rehabilitate,
or resurface existing roadways.

·    $992 million directed to 35 projects that are increasing capacity
and/or reconstructing existing roads.

·    $217 million for 91 projects that will better manage California’s
traffic operations, relieve congestion, and improve road safety

·    $102 million used to fund 14 projects to rehabilitate, replace, or
add capacity to existing bridges.

“Caltrans has worked hard to award contracts with Recovery Act funds. Projects are now currently under contract, employing people, and providing much-needed infrastructure repairs and reconstruction,” said Brian Stopper, program manager for R&L Brosamer. In July 2010, the company was awarded a contract for the Bay Area’s Presidio Parkway project and is currently building the project’s signature tunnel, which is primarily financed by $83 million in Recovery Act funding.