President Barack Obama marked the 2,000th transportation project to be approved under the $787 billion economic relief package Monday. The government effort is coming in ahead of schedule and under budget, Obama announced, praising the efforts of transportation secretary Ray LaHood and Vice President Joe Biden.
Just 41 days ago we announced funding for the first transportation project under ARRA and today we're approving the 2,000th project, Obama said. I am proud to utter the two rarest phrases in the English language - projects are being approved ahead of schedule, and they are coming in under budget.
The White House dedicated $41.5 billion to infrastructure improvement in the American Recover and Reinvestment Act, aimed at creating jobs while improving the country's infrastructure. Of that, over half - around $28 billion - is dedicated to transportation improvement.
Overall, bids are about 15 to 20 percent lower than the White House initially projected, Obama said. Bids in hard-hit California for projects that were around half of what officials had projected.
The Recovery Act is being implemented with speed, transparency and accountability, Biden said.
This is the government working for the people, creating jobs today and laying the foundation for a bright economic future, LaHood added.
Obama praised the early stages of the recovery plan, stating that it's safe to say that this plan is beginning to work. He noted that police departments are cancelling layoffs, and that the tax cuts have already take effect for around 120 million families.
The surplus in the budget for infrastructure improvements means more projects can be funded, Obama said. He warned that the U.S. is not out of the woods yet, although he reiterated comments made over the weekend that there are glimmers of hope on the horizon.
I have no illusion about how much work lies ahead, Obama noted. We will undoubtedly make mistakes - but it is now clear that we are heading in the right direction.
Despite lingering worries about the economy, Obama has been working to reassure Americans that a recovery is in sight.
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