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Federal Stimulus Plan

Killing the Myth of the ‘More Shovel-Ready’ Road Stimulus, Part II

1:15 PM PDT on October 2, 2009

It
has become one of the most enduring anecdotes surrounding the Obama
administration's $787 billion economic stimulus law: Democrats'
contention that White House adviser Larry Summers sliced transit aid by
more than half, to $8.4 billion, out of concerns that projects were not "shovel-ready" enough.

Shovel_ready.jpg(Photo: DMI Blog)

Has Summers been vindicated by the data? Streetsblog Capitol Hill reported
last month that as of August 31, transit stimulus money was getting
spent at a higher rate than the $27.5 billion in highway stimulus cash.
Even when factoring in transportation projects that were out for bid
but not yet begun, state-level reports to Congress found that transit
and highways were on the same footing.

Okay ... but things could have changed in September, right? The
House transportation committee released updated stimulus spending
reports yesterday, as it happens, and they show that transit stimulus
spending is still outpacing highway stimulus.

Streetsblog
Capitol Hill's analysis found $627.7 million in transit aid spent by
the states, or 7.5 percent of the total pot. Highway stimulus spending
totaled $1.64 billion, or 6 percent of the entire fund for roads and
bridges.

We'll continue crunching the monthly numbers as they
are released -- or until Summers issues an unlikely mea culpa. In the
meantime, check out video of Rep. Pete DeFazio's (D-OR) no-holds-barred
take on this issue after the jump.

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