Recovery.gov Now Live; Timeline for Grants Now Available

Stimulus bill can be tracked as money is distributed

The economic stimulus bill, which was signed a few hours ago by President Obama, will now be tracked online via the website Recovery.gov. As of now, the site doesn’t have much, but it will be updated with information about the use of the bill’s $790 billion in expenditures.

The page does have more detailed information and when we’ll know when grants will be awarded and reviewed. Here’s a short resume:

  • February 17, 2009 – Bill signed into law
  • February 19 – Federal agencies begin reporting block grant awards
  • March 3 – Federal agencies begin reporting use of funds
  • March 17 – First DOT reports made to Congress – fund-tracking begins
  • April 17 – Second DOT reports made to Congress
  • May 3 – Federal agencies to make performance plans available; will begin reporting on allocations for entitlement programs
  • May 15 – Detailed agency financial reports to be available
  • May 17 – Use it or Lose It: Any funds not obligated will be redistributed to DOT or other states
  • May 20 – Federal agencies to begin reporting competitive grants and contracts
  • June 17 – Third DOT reports made to Congress
  • July 15 – Fund recipients to begin reporting on the use of funds
  • August 17 – Fourth DOT reports made to Congress
  • February 17, 2010 – Fifth DOT reports made to Congress
  • February 17, 2012 – Final DOT reports made to Congress

What does all this mean? In two days, we’ll have final numbers about where the formula-based awards to transit systems ($6.9 billion) will be going; these numbers are already basically known because they’re based on a standard population and transit use-base formula that’s been used in the past. Between March and May, we’ll hear back on for what exactly the transit agencies are using the money (the transport politic reported a few weeks back, for instance, that New York was likely to use its funds to build the Fulton Street Transit Center). We should also hear a word or two from Amtrak, which is to receive $1.3 billion.

On May 20, we’ll hear how the following competitive grants have been awarded:

  • New Starts ($750 million)
  • High-Speed Rail ($8 billion)
  • Discretionary Grants for transportation ($1.5 billion)

This means that between now and May, transit agencies and state departments of transportation are going to be jockeying like hell to get some of the money listed above, especially since, as Transportation for America puts it, rail proposals do not have to be in pre-existing state plans. Theoretically, states could come up with proposals between now and May that had never before been considered seriously at the state or the national levels. We’ll probably see proposals going out before the grants are awarded.

By the way, I argued in the previous post that we’d be needing a second stimulus package; the idea hasn’t been ruled out by the administration.

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