|Issue of the Day: New Bill Adds Clarity to ARRA Funding|
Published Thursday, September 24th, 2009
A new Highway Bill Reauthorization making its way through Congress seeks to add order to chaos by clarifying the massive $135 billion in funding that came with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Chief Economist of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) states that 50% of the money for projects must be earmarked or obligated within six months or else states lose the funding. The stipulation is intended to force states to identify projects quickly that are eligible for job creation and economic stimulus.
The ARRA provided $48 billion for transportation investments: $27.5 billion for highways; $8.4 billion for public transportation; $9.3 billion for passenger rail; and $1.3 billion for airport infrastructure. Of the bill’s highway funds, roughly $18 billion provides funds directly to states, and half of these funds had to be earmarked in 120 days. The remaining $9 billion in state funds and the $8 billion given to local governments must be earmarked within one year of the bill’s enactment. States and localities that do not meet these deadlines will have their funds redistributed to other states.