The amount of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-financed projects under contract in highways and other infrastructure sectors is slowly rising closer to the 100% mark, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's latest update on the economic-stimulus measure shows.
With the ARRA programs now in the 18th month since the measure was signed, the month-to-month gains in funds under contract are modest.
The committee's latest monthly stimulus scorecard, released Aug. 26, says that of the $38 billion that ARRA allocated for highway, transit and wastewater-treatment programs under the panel's jurisdiction, $34.1 billion, or 90%, was under contract as of July 31.
That compares with $33.4 billion under contract as of the end of June. That sum is 88% of the $38 billion available.
In highways, the largest sector for which the committee is responsible, $24.5 billion, or 93% of the ARRA formula funds, was under contract as of the end of July. In all, states had signed contracts for 12,124 ARRA road and bridge projects by that date.
The July figures represent increases from the $23.9 billion, or 90% of ARRA highway formula funds under contract as of June 30.
John Horsley, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' executive director, says, "States are moving fast this summer to create jobs and complete projects." He adds, "It is amazing how many highways and bridges have been rebuilt using recovery dollars during the last 18 months."
In public transit, 71% of the ARRA formula dollars were under contract on 4,247 projects valued at $5.1 billion by July 31. That's up from 70% of available funds under contract one month earlier.
Amtrak has work under way on projects representing almost all of its $1.3 billion in stimulus funds, the committee noted.
Progress has been much slower on the $8 billion the Federal Railroad Administration received for high-speed-passenger-rail projects. FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo said Aug. 20 that the agency had obligated $585 million of that rail money to date.
Aviation has been one of the leaders among stimulus programs, with work ongoing or finished on 362 projects, accounting for all of the $1.1 billion the stimulus law provided for airport improvements.
In federal buildings,the General Services Administration has awarded contracts for 532 projects valued at $4.5 billion or 81% of its ARRA buildings funds as of the end of July. The ARRA statute requires GSA to award at least $5 billion by Sept. 30.
That compares with 425 projects with GSA contract awards totaling $4.4 billion as of June 30.
In water infrastructure, all $3.8 billion that the Environmental Protection Agency received for Clean Water State Revolving Funds has been allocated to states and is under contract on 1,957 projects.