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Federal Eye Eye Opener: Economic Stimulus Progress Report

Happy Wednesday! It appears that a good chunk of economic stimulus funding is going right into the nation’s roads, according to a GAO update set for release today about the massive government spending project.

The Congressional auditing agency must deliver a bi-monthly stimulus progress report and is tracking the 16 largest states and the District of Columbia, which account for roughly 65 percent of the U.S. population and about two- thirds of the federal funding. The new report comes as President Obama defended his economic recovery plan yesterday while in Russia. Senior Democrats on Capitol Hill are also nervously contemplating whether additional government stimulus spending may be needed to pull the nation out of the worst recession since the 1930s.

GAO estimates that the Treasury Department has paid out approximately $29 billion to states and cities so far this year, about 60 percent of payments estimated for fiscal year 2009, which ends Sept. 30.

Of that total, most of the funds paid out to states have come from increased Medicare and Education Department grants to state governments.

But the most visible demonstration of stimulus funding is on American roads. As of June 25, the Transportation Department had paid out $15.9 billion for more than 5,000 projects nationwide. Most of that money has been put towards road reconstruction and pavement projects.

“Many state officials told us they selected a large percentage of resurfacing and other pavement improvement projects because they did not require extensive environmental clearances, were quick to design, could be quickly obligated and bid, could employ people quickly, and could be completed within three years,” according to the report.

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