Between nearly $50 billion in federal stimulus money and massive bond programs moving ahead in several states, funding for the transportation sector has been flying high this year. But the realities of the recession, coupled with heated debate over future funding streams, could bring the market back to earth in the coming years.
Transportation was given high priority in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which devoted $49.3 billion to the sector out of nearly $140 billion in total construction dollars. The Obama administration’s intention was to get work started soon after the bill was signed in February, but much of the funding will continue to flow in 2010. Under ARRA, states were required to designate half of their highway and bridge funding by June 30 and the remaining half by March 2010. The General Accounting Office estimates that $18 billion of $27.5 billion for highways and bridges had been obligated by Sept. 1.