Obama Marks 2,000th Stimulus-Funded Transit Project
By Michael D. Shear
President Obama today claimed an early success in the government's efforts to jolt the economy back to health, telling employees at the Department of Transportation that the stimulus bill has sparked a renaissance of transportation construction.
Obama said that the $28 billion allocated to transit projects and highways has already funded 2,000 separate projects around the country. And he said the intense competition among companies who want to work on the projects is driving down the cost to government.
"We can utter a sentence rarely heard," Obama said. "This government effort is coming in ahead of schedule and under budget."
Critics of the president's stimulus bill have argued that it will not pump money into the economy quickly enough, and have warned that too much money could be spent without proper checks, wasting taxpayer dollars.
The president sought to directly challenge that assertion today, saying that more projects have been started than they had projected when the bill passed two months ago.
"It isn't just the size" of the investments, Obama told the department employees, as Vice President Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stood by. "It's how quickly, efficiently and responsibly those investments have been made."
He added: "Some may have thought it would take months to get to this point. We approved these 2,000 projects in just 41 days."
Posted at 12:42 PM ET on Apr 13, 2009
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