Saturday, February 14, 2009
Transportation and housing were big winners in the stimulus, accounting for about $61 billion of the package.
That includes nearly $50 billion over two years in direct funding from the Department of Transportation for highways, bridges, rail and other infrastructure. Road-related projects garner more than half the total; there is also $8.4 billion for commuter transit and $9.3 billion for Amtrak and high-speed passenger rail.
Rail advocates were pleased with the unexpected surge in funding, which included about $8 billion added during the House-Senate conference. Transit supporters had complained that road projects were unfairly favored in earlier versions of the bill.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which languished in the previous administration, garnered more than $13 billion for housing and neighborhood assistance programs.
Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the transportation investments and other infrastructure programs would "create or sustain 1.8 million jobs. Real jobs, construction jobs. . . . They'll get a day's wage and pay taxes on it."
-- Dan Eggen