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Hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure - "Recovery Act: Progress Report for Transportation Infrastructure Investments"


Location: Washington, DC

The transportation and infrastructure investments provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5) (Recovery Act) have been a tremendous success. They have helped stem the tide of job losses from the worst economic crisis facing the nation since the Great Depression. Across the nation, 17,024 highway, transit, and wastewater infrastructure projects have broken ground, totaling $32.7 billion -- that is 86 percent of the total available formula funds. Within this total, work has been completed on 6,920 projects, totaling $5.3 billion. All 50 States have signed contracts worth 100 percent of their Recovery Act wastewater projects, and 40 States have signed contracts worth at least 90 percent of their Recovery Act highway funds.

During the first year of implementation, these formula projects created or sustained 350,000 direct, on-project jobs. Total employment from these projects (direct, indirect, and induced jobs) reached almost 1.2 million. In June 2010, these projects created or sustained 82,000 direct jobs, and total employment reached nearly 160,000 jobs.

In total, direct job creation has resulted in:

 Payroll expenditures of $3 billion;

 Federal taxes paid totaling $610 million; and

 Unemployment checks avoided worth $509 million.

These infrastructure investments have put America on the path to economy recovery. While this path has not been a smooth one, the transparency and accountability information collected and released by this Committee demonstrates how Recovery Act transportation and infrastructure investments have contributed to the upswing in job creation and economic growth.

Against this backdrop, I scheduled this oversight hearing, the twentieth Recovery Act oversight hearing conducted by this Committee, to hear from Secretary LaHood on the Department of Transportation's efforts to implement programs receiving funding under the Recovery Act. I have additionally invited five companies that work on the front lines of our economic recovery to discuss their efforts to put Americans back to work.

The successful implementation of the Recovery Act highway, transit, and wastewater investments adds force to the calls for additional infrastructure funding. As of June 30, 2010:

 18,718 highway, transit, and wastewater infrastructure projects in all 50 States, five Territories, and the District of Columbia have been put out to bid totaling $35 billion, (92 percent of the total available formula funds for highway, transit, and wastewater infrastructure projects);

 Fifty States, five Territories, and the District of Columbia have signed contracts for 18,002 projects totaling $33.4 billion (88 percent);

 Work has begun on 17,024 projects in 50 States, five Territories, and the District of Columbia totaling $32.7 billion (86 percent); and

 Work has been completed on 6,920 projects totaling $5.3 billion in 50 States, one Territory, and the District of Columbia (14 percent).
The Recovery Act investments are also improving our nation's transportation infrastructure:

 The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that highway and bridge investments will result in 35,399 miles of road improvement and 1,264 bridge improvements;

 These highway investments will also result in demand for approximately 10 million metric tons of cement, resulting in revenues of $950 million for the cement industry;

 The Federal Transit Authority (FTA) reports that transit investments will result in the purchase or rehabilitation of 12,136 buses, rail cars, and paratransit vans ($2.4 billion);

 Transit investments also include the construction or rehabilitation of 4,870 passenger facilities ($1.5 billion); and the construction or rehabilitation of 324 maintenance facilities ($925 million);

 Amtrak investments will result in the replacement of 1.3 million concrete ties (of which 281,400 are completed), the restoration to service of 60 Amfleet cars, 21 Superliners, and 15 locomotives, and the improvement of 270 stations; and

 Aviation investments will results in 155 runway improvements at 139 airports that accommodate 11 million annual takeoffs/landings ($483 million); 83 taxiway improvements at 78 airports that accommodate 8.1 million annual takeoffs/landings ($220 million); and 25 projects to modernize air route traffic control centers ($50 million).

In addition to these transportation programs, the Recovery Act also provided funding for other infrastructure programs under the Committee's jurisdiction. Of the total $64.1 billion provided for transportation and infrastructure programs under the Recovery Act, Federal, State, and local agencies administering programs within the Committee's jurisdiction have announced 19,610 transportation and other infrastructure projects totaling $62.9 billion, as of July 16, 2010. This amount represents 98 percent of the total available funds. Within this total, Federal agencies, States, and their local partners have obligated $51.2 billion for 19,282 projects, representing 80 percent of the available funds:

 All 50 States met the requirement that 100 percent of their Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) projects be under contract within one year of enactment (February 17, 2010). As of June 30, 2010, 1,897 projects are under construction totaling $3.8 billion (98 percent of the total available funds);

 Clean water investments will construct, upgrade, or maintain publicly owned treatment works, mitigate nonpoint source pollution, and promote estuary management, serving an estimated 64 million people, approximately one-third of the U.S. population currently served by sewers -- 629 projects ($1.5 billion);

 Work has begun or is completed on 58 Superfund projects totaling $581 million (100 percent);

 Work has begun or is completed on 155 of 185 planned Brownfield projects;

 The Corps has committed $3.9 billion for 793 projects (85 percent);

 Corps investments will repair or improve 155 lock chambers, and maintain or improve harbors and waterways that serve over 2,400 commercial ports,

 Corps investments also include 1,132 flood risk management projects to improve dam or levee safety, and 1,034 projects to maintain or upgrade recreation areas;

 The General Service Administration (GSA) has awarded contracts and begun work on 425 projects worth $4.4 billion (76 percent);

 The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has broken ground on 54 of the 68 planned projects totaling $122 million (83 percent);

 Under the Coast Guard's Alteration of Bridges program, work has begun on all four planned bridge projects totaling $142 million (100 percent).
Although the Recovery Act has counteracted the increase in construction unemployment, Congress must continue to focus on job creation. Additional funding for infrastructure projects will immediately create and sustain needed employment.

I am pleased with the progress that has been made since enactment of the Recovery Act. I look forward to hearing the testimony of today's witnesses and discussing what is being done to ensure that Recovery Act funds will continue to create good, family-wage jobs as quickly as possible, and learning how we can build upon these efforts to ensure that we continue to put Americans back to work.

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