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Hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee - Recovery Act Transportation and Infrastructure Projects: Impacts on Local Communities and Business


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, 18,365 highway, transit, and wastewater infrastructure projects have broken ground, totaling $33.9 billion -- that is 89 percent of the total available formula funds. Within this total, work has been completed on 8,965 projects, totaling $7.1 billion. Forty-five States have started construction on 100 percent of their Recovery Act wastewater projects, and 40 States have begun work on at least 90 percent of their Recovery Act highway projects.

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 August 2010, these projects created or sustained 71,000 direct jobs, and total employment in August reached nearly 225,000 jobs.

In total, direct job creation has resulted in:
Payroll expenditures of $3.8 billion;
Federal taxes paid totaling $780 million; and
Unemployment checks avoided worth $644 million.

The successful implementation of the transportation and infrastructure provisions of the Recovery Act underscore the immediate need to provide additional funding for infrastructure. Earlier this month, the President unveiled a plan to build on the achievements of the Recovery Act by further investing in our national transportation infrastructure. The principles outlined by the President are consistent with those put forward by the Committee in the Blueprint for Investment and Reform and by our Committee in the Surface Transportation Authorization Act. I applaud the goals of this
initiative and look forward to working with the Administration in further developing our proposal and moving it through Congress.

Beyond these infrastructure investments of the Recovery Act, the nonpartisan
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the Recovery Act as a whole had even more far-reaching effects. During the second quarter of calendar year 2010, the most recent quarter for which data are available, CBO estimates that the Recovery Act in its entirety lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points. CBO further explains that the Recovery Act increased the number of
people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million, and increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by 2 million to 4.8 million compared with what would have occurred had Congress not passed the Recovery Act. CBO also makes clear that the Recovery Act raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.7 percent to 4.5 percent.

Against this backdrop, I scheduled this oversight hearing, the 21st Recovery Act oversight hearing conducted by this Committee, to hear from Americans who have directly benefited from the transportation and infrastructure provisions of the Recovery Act. Our witnesses today include workers, community leaders, and businesspeople, all of whom can point to projects on the ground that have positively impacted the livelihood of people and their communities.

The transparency and accountability information released by the Committee on Recovery Act highway, transit, and wastewater formula investments adds force to the calls for additional infrastructure funding. As of August 31, 2010:
19,328 highway, transit, and wastewater infrastructure projects in all 50 States, five Territories, and the District of Columbia have been put out to bid totaling $35.2 billion (93 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 18,876 projects totaling $34.4 billion (91 percent);

Work has begun on 18,365 projects in 50 States, five Territories, and the District of Columbia totaling $33.9 billion (89 percent); and

Work has been completed on 8,965 projects totaling $7.1 billion in 50 States, one Territory, and the District of Columbia (19 percent).

The Recovery Act investments are also improving our nation's transportation

Highway and bridge investments will result in:
o 35,399 miles of road improvement;
o 1,264 bridge improvements; and
o demand for approximately 10 million metric tons of cement, resulting in
revenues of $950 million for the cement industry;

Transit investments will result in:
o 12,234 buses, vehicles, and rail cars purchased or rehabilitated ($2.4
o 4,870 passenger facilities constructed or rehabilitated ($1.5 billion); and
o 324 maintenance facilities constructed or rehabilitated ($925 million);

Amtrak investments will result in:
o 1.3 million concrete ties replaced (of which 326,649 are completed);
o 60 Amfleet cars, 21 Superliners, and 15 locomotives restored to service;
o 270 stations improvements;

Work is underway on 185 Amtrak projects totaling $1.3 billion (100 percent of
their available funds), and Amtrak has made 47 percent of the total number of contract awards to small businesses;

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

Work is underway or completed on 757 aviation projects totaling $1.3 billion
(100 percent).

In addition to these transportation programs, the Recovery Act also provided
funding for other infrastructure programs under the Committee's jurisdiction.
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 August 31, 2010, 1,946 projects are under construction totaling $3.8 billion (100 percent of the 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 59 Superfund projects totaling $584 million (100 percent);

Work has begun or is completed on 165 of 185 planned Brownfield projects;

The Corps has committed $4.3 billion for 796 projects (93 percent);

Corps investments will result in:
o 155 lock chambers repaired or improved;
o 1,132 flood risk management projects to improve dam or levee safety;
o 1,034 projects to maintain or upgrade recreation areas; and
o maintain or improve harbors and waterways that serve over 2,400
commercial ports;

The General Service Administration (GSA) has awarded contracts and begun
work on 536 projects worth $4.6 billion (82 percent);

GSA investments will result in:
o 78 roofs installed, including 68 photovoltaic arrays on roofs;

o 140 lighting systems put in place;
o 52 water systems installed; and
o 222 system tune-ups and recommissionings completed.

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has broken ground on 57 of
the 68 planned projects totaling $130 million (88 percent);

Under the Coast Guard's Alteration of Bridges program, work has begun on all four planned bridge projects totaling $142 million (100 percent); and

Work is underway or completed on 70 of the 73 planned small shipyard projects totaling $123 million (100 percent).

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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