Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today met with leaders of state departments of transportation from across the country in preparation for final passage of the economic recovery bill.
“The upshot of these meetings is that we have thousands of worthwhile transportation projects that are ready to go. They’ve cleared all the hurdles and just need the funding,” said Secretary LaHood. “The U.S. Department of Transportation is ready to get the money out the door. We now need the Congress to pass a final bill.”
The meeting came one day after the U.S. Senate approved the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The House passed its version on January 28. The bills now go to a conference committee to resolve differences.
Secretary LaHood said the bills passed provide approximately $46 billion for transportation infrastructure, including up to $30 billion for highways, $12 billion for transit, $3.1 billion for passenger rail and $3 billion for airports. In addition, the Senate bill also includes $5.5 billion for a supplemental discretionary grant program. Eligible projects include highways and bridges, public transit, passenger and freight rail transportation and port infrastructure.
Secretary LaHood told participants that accountability would be one of his highest priorities and that his Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) team would be closely monitoring all aspects of the recovery funding. The Secretary’s TIGER team is composed of officials from across the Department’s operating administrations and offices.
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