Nearly six months ago, President Obama and Congress enacted a $787 billion stimulus package with the promise that it would boost the sagging economy, save and create jobs, and in the case of the $48 billion in transportation funding, jump-start the construction of "shovel-ready," worthwhile projects. To date, the Department of Transportation says it has made more than $22 billion available to the states and approved more than 6,600 projects, with more than 3,200 of those projects already begun.
But Republican critics say the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has failed to live up to its name. In a July 10 press conference, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ranking member John Mica, R-Fla., and other GOP detractors noted that DOT data showed that as of July 3, only 1 percent of the $48 billion had actually been spent. Bureaucratic delays, they charged, mean idle workers and continued unemployment.
When it comes to the transportation sector, has the stimulus made good on its promise or fallen short? What is the most appropriate way to measure its success or failure? How much time should we give it?