The stimulus bill has spent almost nothing on infrastructure yet:
Stimulus spending on infrastructure projects is moving slowly and many projects won’t get started before the summer construction season ends, complicating the Obama administration’s efforts to tout the impact of the $787 billion economic recovery act.
- The General Services Administration has decided how to spend $1 billion on federal building upgrades, but only about 1% of that money has been spent. The GSA will approve another $1 billion by year’s end, but Anthony Costa, acting commissioner of the GSA’s public buildings services, said it will take until 2011 before the agency picks projects for all of the $5.5 billion it was allocated for infrastructure work.
- The Federal Transit Administration has spent about $500 million of the $8.4 billion it received.
- The Coast Guard has decided to spend the majority of its $240 million on four bridges, but a spokesman said the money “won’t transfer hands for a while.”
- California’s transportation department has decided how to spend $1.7 billion of the $2.6 billion it is getting for highway infrastructure projects, but the agency says its spending on such projects probably won’t peak until next year. . .
The gradual start means many projects won’t get under way before the beginning of the fall, when many construction projects in the northern half of the country typically halt before the winter rain and snow. That is providing fodder to critics of the recovery act who say it was overhyped as a way to quickly boost the economy. . .
The White House Recovery Office said Tuesday that government agencies have decided how to spend about $31 billion of the $73 billion going directly to construction projects, but it couldn’t offer a figure on how much has actually been spent.
On a related note, the administration is now revising its earlier arguments, saying that the stimulus was never supposed to give a quick jolt to the economy.