Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he'll meet with the transportation heads from all 50 states in Washington next Wednesday about how to prioritize funding for projects included in the economic stimulus package.
In a conference call with Midwest reporters Thursday afternoon, LaHood said he has asked DOT directors to bring "ready-to-go" projects to his attention at the meeting, but added, "I don't know how much each state is going to get."
"The fastest way to get the money out is through the state DOTs. We want projects that are ready-to-go," he added.
LaHood's conference call was part of a full-court press offensive by the Obama administration Thursday. Other Cabinet officials held similar conference calls in other regions of the country.
LaHood also announced the formation of TIGER, a multi-modal economic development team that will make sure the stimulus money id spent on projects "rapidly, legally and wisely."
The Secretary also pressed these points about the package:
- It's expected to create 3 to 4 million jobs over the next 2 years
- 75% of the funding in the package will be spent during the first 18 months
- "We're going to do it without earmarks. The President's been clear about that," LaHood said.
- Transparency will be paramount. The public will be able to track the money and spending down to their specific locales at www.recovery.gov.
- "We're going to hold the Governor's feet to the fire on this," LaHood said, responding to a question about accountability.
MO' STIMULUS INFO:
The White House has also released a fact sheet on how each state would benefit from the economic stimulus package. Highlights:
- Will create or save 73,300 Missouri jobs
- Provide a tax cut of up to $1,000 for 2.2 million Missouri families
- 74,000 families eligible for college tax credits
- Unemployment insurance benefits to 326,000 Missouri workers who have lost their jobs
- Funding to modernize at least 163 schools