New Cash, Not New Projects in Stimulus ..The head line says it all

The Washington Post Article says it all.

Regional transportation officials anticipate a windfall from the planned federal stimulus package that would effectively double this year’s federal spending on roads and rail in the region, officials said yesterday. State officials did not release detailed project lists, (comment: most states did not) but they estimated that Virginia would receive $700 million to $800 million; Maryland $600 million to $700 million; and the District $120 million. Under the transit component of the House stimulus bill, Metro would receive $315 million. Despite national concerns that the stimulus plan shortchanges transportation, regional officials expect that the Washington area would fare well under the House and Senate proposals. Under the House spending formula, for example, 25 percent of the federal dollars would go to urban areas such as the Washington region. The other 75 percent would be distributed by state transportation officials. Both Northern Virginia and the District’s Maryland suburbs are major population centers and could expect a significant share of the statewide spending, officials said. There’s just not time to get the approvals done” on big new projects, said Ronald Kirby, director of transportation planning for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. “But that is not a problem, since there is a backlog of projects that are ready to be implemented quickly. We’re not being forced to spend money on things we don’t need.”

No new projects that could have impact on congestion. The big projects (as we have been saying) just can not get through the process in time to qualify. Thus, “shovel ready”, is just same old same old.