US vice president Joe Biden has confirmed that US$ 453 billion of the US$ 787 billion in funding promised through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has either been spent or allocated in the 12 months since the act was passed.

In his first Annual Report on Progress Implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Mr Biden said, "Almost 60% of the Recovery Act funding is now at work in the US economy.

"Since the Act was passed a year ago we have funded over 12500 transportation construction projects ranging from highway construction to airport improvements. We have also funded projects at 51 Superfund (hazardous waste) sites from the national priority list, and 34 already have construction underway," he said.

"We have started more than 2850 construction and improvement projects at over 350 military facilities and we've already completed more than 950. In January we also announced the allocation of US$ 8 billion towards the development of high speed rail projects in 31 states, a move that represents a critical element of our 21st century infrastructure programme."

Highlighting some of the 55000 projects benefitting from ARRA funding, Mr Biden confirmed that US$ 2.35 billion was allocated to the California Department of Transportation and the Californian High Speed Rail Authority on 28 January 2010 for the construction of a new, electrically powered high-speed rail system of 1290 km in length and capable of carrying 300 trains per day.

Mr Biden said, "In Florida the Department of Transport received a US$ 105 million grant in October 2009 to build a new toll road connecting Interstate 4 to the Selmon Expressway. In building this road, Recovery Act dollars are helping to create a safer, more efficient means of transport for visitors, commuters and commerce in the area."

In Ohio, the Department of Transportation (DOT) was awarded US$ 138 million for the Nelsonville bypass project, the final section of the US 33 corridor upgrade designed to support the future commercial demands of Appalachia. Mr Biden said, "This represents the largest infusion ARRA dollars for a single project in the state of Ohio. The Ohio DOT has already broken ground on the 13.6 km, four-lane highway to divert traffic away from the town, and once completed, the bypass should enable some 620000 trucks each year to avoid the town centre."

In commending the report to president Obama, Mr Biden said, "Many projects are just now getting underway, and will be creating jobs throughout 2010 and beyond. Work on many Recovery Act projects will accelerate in the spring and summer months as weather conditions permit work on roads, bridges, water projects and Superfund site clean-ups."

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