editor Kristi Reed
Two years and nearly $1 billion later, officials with the Georgia Department of Transportation are calling the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus program a “tremendously important success story.”
Locally, Gwinnett County has benefited from more than $74 million in stimulus funding allocated to 11 separate road projects.
In total, Georgia has received nearly $981 million in transportation stimulus funds. GDOT officials say more than half has already been spent on 500 separate ARRA-funded projects that have provided more than 3.6 million man hours of work. The remaining stimulus money will fund jobs through 2015.
“As far as the transportation engineering and construction industries are concerned, without question the stimulus program prevented a very bad recession from becoming a catastrophic depression,” State Transportation Board Chairman Rudy Bowen of Gwinnett County said in a released statement. “We still have huge funding challenges, but at least the (highway) engineers and contractors are still in business and their employees still have jobs. That wouldn’t have been the case for a lot of them without the stimulus program.”
Georgia DOT Commissioner Vance C. Smith said the stimulus program has provided “real jobs and real hope for Georgia workers.”
Georgia’s stimulus funding has been allocated as follows:
* $903 million is going to 401 bridge, safety, resurfacing, rehabilitation, new capacity and enhancement projects.
* $38 million to purchase more than 200 new buses, vans and other equipment for small urban and rural transit systems.
* $30 million to the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).
* $10 million to five general aviation airports in the state.
President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law in February of 2009. In total, taxpayers will fund approximately $48 billion of transportation infrastructure projects including highways, public transit, high speed rail and aviation.