The latest data tracking job creation and investment under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act show that 91 percent of formula funds for highway, transit, and wastewater infrastructure are under contract, according to Rep. James L. Oberstar (Minn.), Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. These funds are spent to reimburse contractors as they incur expenses in carrying out their contracts.
However, the tremendous success of the Recovery Act is now under fire by Republican leaders, who threaten to reverse the Act's progress in creating jobs, and instead return to the failed policies that caused the worst economic crisis that the nation has faced since the Great Depression.
"In recent weeks, Congressional Republican leaders have threatened to cancel any unspent Recovery Act funds. If Republicans carry out this scheme, the federal program will no longer be able to reimburse contractors for work under contracts already in effect. States would have to rescind contracts with private companies, which would result in thousands of infrastructure projects grinding to a halt all over the country and cause countless layoffs," said Oberstar.
"Simply put, the Recovery Act rescued the nation's economy from the failed policies of the Bush Administration, put people back to work, and is helping our economy get back on track. To reverse the Recovery Act's success in creating and saving jobs by rescinding existing contracts is an irresponsible setback, unsound economic policy, and harmful to America's middle-class families."
Today, the Committee released its latest periodic report on the implementation of Recovery Act transportation and infrastructure programs with data reported as of September 30, 2010. The report shows that $35.3 billion, or 93 percent, of formula program projects have been put out to bid on 19,678 projects. Within this total, 91 percent, or 19,195 projects totaling $34.5 billion, are under contract.
"No matter how many times Republicans say that the Recovery Act failed, it doesn't change the indisputable fact that virtually all reputable economists say it has been successful in creating jobs," said Oberstar. "In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which is widely respected on both sides of the aisle, confirms that as many as 3.3 million people are employed as a direct result of the Recovery Act."
Additional highlights of the report:
* Across the nation, work has begun on 18,895 projects totaling $34.1 billion, or 90 percent of the available funds. Within this total, work has been completed on 9,789 projects totaling $8.1 billion.
* During the first year of implementation (February 17, 2009, through February 28, 2010), these projects created or sustained nearly 350,000 direct, on-project jobs. Total employment, which includes direct, indirect, and induced jobs, reached almost 1.2 million jobs. During September 2010, the Recovery Act created or sustained 87,000 direct, on-project jobs. Total employment in September, which includes direct, indirect, and induced jobs, reached 244,000 jobs.
* In total, direct job creation from these projects has resulted in payroll expenditures of $4.2 billion. Using this data, the Committee calculates that $717 million in unemployment checks have been avoided as a result of this direct job creation. Furthermore, these direct jobs have caused nearly $865 million to be paid in Federal taxes.
* Recovery Act investments will result in 35,399 miles of road improvement, 1,264 bridge improvements, and 12,234 buses, vehicles, and rail cars purchased or rehabilitated.