August 2009 – State & Province News
In late June, Ohio passed a stimulus mile marker when it received word that transportation projects totaling more than $336 million had been approved by the Federal Highway Administration. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio must have all $655 million in transportation infrastructure projects approved by March 2010. To help meet the deadline, the state transportation department switched $57 million in requests for money to plan long-term regional projects, including a high-speed rail corridor, to smaller projects that were ready to go. Meanwhile, the state will use other sources of money to pay for the planning projects.
Fewer than four months after receiving $465 million in federal stimulus funds, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, and county governments have awarded $382 million in construction contracts. According to Tulsa World, no other state transportation department has awarded a greater share of its stimulus funds than Oklahoma’s 82 percent. “About everywhere you go, you’re going to see some activity,” said Gary Ridley, ODOT director. “We certainly haven’t taken a back seat to anybody as far as how far we have progressed.”
Don Laskey, owner of Laskey-Clifton Corp. of Reedsport, said stimulus projects have allowed him to keep workers employed and even add new workers. The Daily Journal of Commerce reports that some of its new projects include a state stimulus job at Bullard’s Beach State Park and highway paving work for the Oregon Department of Transportation. “We started seeing a decline in the number of jobs in 2008, in March or so, and a real increase in the amount of competition for projects,” Laskey said. “That’s still the case today, but we were able to get some asphalt paving projects totaling almost $5 million.” The stimulus projects have allowed Laskey to keep 15 employees who would have otherwise been laid off. He said he plans to hire between seven and 14 new workers.
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