Utah leader in spending highway stimulus money

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A new report says Utah leads all states when it comes to the percent of federal stimulus money spent on transportation projects.

We have a governor and Legislature who are very focused on the efficient delivery of government services.

–Carlos Braceras

Utah has spent spend 84 percent of the $213 million it's been allocated, according to the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee report.

Carlos Braceras, deputy director of the Utah Department of Transportation, said it's not a surprise Utah is leading the country.

As the stimulus bill was rolling out, UDOT and state leaders planned projects according to the rules set up by the federal government, he said.

"We have a governor and Legislature who are very focused on the efficient delivery of government services," Braceras said.

The committee's report says 89 of 125 Utah projects that have put out to bid have been completed.

Braceras said Utah motorists might not notice all of the projects UDOT completed with stimulus money. Some of the projects included pavement and bridge-preservation projects that extend the lives of roads and bridges.

But he said a few projects will be very noticeable, noting the Syracuse road-widening project, from 1000 West to 2000 West, and the construction of the Long Valley bridge, which had been wiped out by flooding in southern Utah.

The report says that more than 3,800 jobs with a total payroll of nearly $18 million were created or saved between February 2009 and February 2010.

Nationally, $11.7 billion has been spent out of the projected $26.4 billion for highway projects. More than 216,500 jobs in the U.S. were created or saved in the first year, with 62,814 in the current year.

The payroll for those jobs is nearly $2.4 billion.


(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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