U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today said he will accelerate stimulus spending and announced $1.5 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds will be disbursed one month early.
As the economy continued to deteriorate this spring, the administration has come under some criticism for the slow rollout of ARRA funds to support infrastructure and other construction projects needed to stimulate industries such as the construction equipment sector.
The $1.5 billion from the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant program will award ARRA funds on a competitive basis to projects that can create jobs and benefit economically distressed areas.
"Our top priority with the Recovery Act is to get money out the door quickly in order to put people to work and get the economy back on track," LaHood said.
As part of the effort to accelerate spending, LaHood created a review team to expedite the application process for the TIGER program, allowing DOT to announce the grants in January 2010, one month ahead of the statutory deadline.
Although recent signs have showed a rebound in the housing market, which should aid homebuilders and construction equipment makers, some manufacturers and contractors have criticized the government's stimulus package as not targeting enough infrastructure projects.