"If additional federal transportation funding is provided to the states through a stimulus bill, it will accelerate the creation of construction jobs within 30 to 90 days, because we have projects that are ready to go now and awaiting funding," said Pete K. Rahn, President of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and Director of the Missouri Department of Transportation Sep. 17.
Reacting to an assertion that investment in transportation cannot create jobs fast enough to help the ailing economy, Rahn said if funds are available, "We can create work quickly," providing both a short-term boost to the economy and a longer-term investment return from increased productivity. "We can relieve congestion and create economic opportunity through transportation," he added. "Just look at what the U.S. Interstate system did for our productivity."
Earlier this year state departments of transportation identified more than 3,000 highway projects totaling approximately $18 billion that could be implemented within 30-90 days from enactment of federal economic stimulus legislation. "We are talking about good construction jobs being created, jobs that can support a family," Rahn concluded.
Transportation investment is one of the components currently being considered by Congress for inclusion in a second economic stimulus bill.