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Which states are spending highway stimulus fastest?

The money was supposed to be spent quickly. According to a list released Thursday, Wyoming and two other states have done well. Florida? Not so much.

Maine Dept. of Transportation worker Alan Ladd creates a dust cloud while cutting concrete on the Langdon Road bridge crossing Interstate 295, July 8, in Richmond, Maine. Amid long-term highway funding worries, Maine is getting $130 million in federal stimulus funds.

Robert F. Bukaty/AP

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When Congress passed the $787 billion economic stimulus package, it included $26.8 billion for the states to spend on their highways and bridges.

One of the congressional mandates was to spend the money quickly.

Now Rep. James Oberstar (D) of Minnesota, wants the taxpayers to know who is spending the money and who is not.

On Thursday, Mr. Oberstar, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure patted three states on the back and told three others to get with the program.

The top three (as of the end of June):

1. Wyoming which has used 76 percent of its $157.6 million

2. New Hampshire at 64 percent of its $129.4 million

3. Oklahoma at 53 percent of its $464.6 million

The worst three:

1. Florida which has used 2 percent of its $1.346 billion

2. Hawaii at zero percent of $125.7 million

3. South Carolina at 3 percent of $463 million.

Why is Florida worse than Hawaii?

In calculating the top and bottom states, Oberstar’s committee weighted the numbers on the basis of allocated funds associated with projects out to bid, the percentage associated with projects under contract, and the largest percentage to projects already underway.

The weighting explains why Florida, which has only 13 percent of its funds out to bid but 2 percent underway is worse than Hawaii which has 36 percent out to bid but no projects underway.


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