Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) are helping improve the infrastructure and create new jobs, says a new report from the Washington-based American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

According to "More Projects and Paychecks: Transportation's Summer of Recovery," as of August 31, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that $5.4 billion worth of work is under way on 4,200 mass transit projects, and 11,978 highway and bridge projects are being completed, totaling $24.1 billion. A total of 13,000 highway projects worth $26.4 billion have been approved for construction, that when completed will improve 35,399 miles of highways, and 1,200 bridges.

Jobs-creation is happening, said AASHTO executive director John Horsley. "Billions of dollars are being invested in transportation projects that are creating paychecks for hundreds of thousands of construction workers hard hit by unemployment rates that were well above 20 percent earlier this year. And, when you consider that more than 6,000 highway and bridge projects and nearly 2,500 transit projects have already been completed, you can see first-hand how states are delivering for the American people."

Horsley noted, "In August alone, more than 63,000 direct, on-project jobs have been created in the highway and transit sectors — an increase of 53 percent since March. According to data compiled by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, almost 94 percent of stimulus-funded bridge and highway projects nationwide are under contract — an investment that will put $25.5 billion directly into the economy."

The AASHTO report explains that just 6 percent of total ARRA stimulus funding, or $48 billion, was targeted at U.S. highways, transit systems, intercity passenger rail and aviation networks. Those dollars, said Horsley, are well invested: "For every dollar spent in keeping a road in good condition, the American taxpayer saves $10 to rebuild a deteriorated road. Transportation is a smart investment, and we're hoping that this report will help make a strong case for a robust, long-term highway and transit reauthorization."

AASHTO used data from state departments of transportation, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration in compiling the report.

View the full report, which includes state examples of recovery projects and the people they employed.

AASHTO represents state departments of transportation in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving as a catalyst for excellence in transportation.

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