Head of U.S. DOT Praises Missouri for Use of Stimulus Funds
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri is in the "fast lane" for its use of highway stimulus funds.
"Missouri has done a terrific job of using recovery funds to invest in good transportation projects across its cities, suburbs, and rural communities," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in comments posted to his blog site, Fast Lane, following a recent visit to St. Louis. "These efforts are really making a difference to the folks who live and work in Missouri."
LaHood visited a construction project on Memorial Drive in St. Louis last Friday to learn more about the progress Missouri is making to use American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to help rebuild the state and national economy.
To date, the Missouri Department of Transportation has obligated 71 percent of its share of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for projects statewide. Nearly 57 percent, or $297.7 million, of those funds have been awarded for highway and bridge projects that will support 8,123 direct and indirect jobs.
"Thank you, Missouri, for your hard work implementing the Recovery Act," LaHood said. "Together, we're going to bring America back, and build the transportation infrastructure that our great nation needs and deserves."
# # #
EDITOR'S NOTE: Read Secretary LaHood's entire blog post about Missouri's use of Recovery Act funds is provided below or can be found online at http://fastlane.dot.gov/2009/08/missouri-invests-recovery-funds-in-good-transportation-projects.html#more
August 21, 2009
Missouri has done a terrific job: Recovery Act funds good transportation projects, good jobs across the state
In St. Louis today, I told the Regional Business Council that Missouri has done a terrific job of using recovery funds to invest in good transportation projects across its cities, suburbs, and rural communities. And I congratulated Governor Jay Nixon, state Transportation Director Pete Rahn, and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay for recognizing the economic opportunities offered by this landmark legislation.
Many may not know this, but the first American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) project in Missouri apparently broke ground as soon as President Obama signed the Act into law.
Since that historic day, we at DOT have made available over $570 million in transportation-related ARRA money for hundreds and hundreds of projects in Missouri. And the Show-Me State has already committed more than 70% of its total recovery highway funds. In fact, Missouri ranks 5th in the nation in terms of highway stimulus funds spent so far.
And these efforts are really making a difference to the folks who live and work in Missouri. For example, there's a highway project in St. Louis funded by the Recovery Act, to fix up Memorial Drive down by the Arch. This $5 million project is going to make this stretch of road safer for pedestrians and much smoother for drivers. It's not the biggest stimulus project on the books, but this one project is responsible for preventing layoffs and for rehiring workers who were laid off.
Last March, soon after the Recovery Act began, contractors hired in Missouri on stimulus projects reported 71 direct jobs as a result. By June, they reported about 700 jobs. And by July, it was over 1,000 jobs. This upward trend should continue for months to come with:
- 8 projects at Missouri airports
- $41 million for 5 urban transit projects in and around St. Louis
- More than half a million in Amtrak projects
- Potential grants in high-speed rail development
- Missouri's possible discretionary TIGER grants
But, the benefits don't end with the jobs created directly. There's an economic ripple effect as the electricians, equipment operators, and others earning a paycheck on these jobs will spend some of that money locally. That's good news for the community and for the businesses in the area looking for new customers.
It's good new for Missouri, and good news for America.
And the economic ripple effect from all this activity in Missouri will carry well into next year and beyond:
I know the Recovery Act can't make up for all the jobs our economy has shed. But every single job these investments help to protect, every worker who's recalled from a layoff, every new college graduate who finds that crucial first job--every one of these counts as a victory.
Thank you, Missouri, for your hard work implementing the Recovery Act. Together, we're going to bring America back, and build the transportation infrastructure that our great nation needs and deserves.