South Dakota’s Department of Transportation will receive $189 million in federal funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARARA), also know as the Economic Stimulus Package.
As part of the requirements with ARARA, 50 percent of the funds must be obligated in 120 days. The DOT has identified 45 state highway improvement projects for the first phase of allocating funds which conform to the current mode of preservation on the state highway system.
As the guidelines and requirements of the ARARA become available, DOT staff will continue to work with local units of government to identify projects qualified for funding. The DOT Transportation Commission will be addressing and making decisions on the local portion at the next commission meeting.
ARARA is a one time stimulus and does not solve the long-term highway funding shortfall and do not include construction of new highways.
Different projects planned
DOT intentionally included several different project types, including asphalt and concrete paving, bridges, pavement rehabilitation, road reconstruction and safety improvements to satisfy various aspects of the construction industry.
"The Phase 1 projects will likely be let from March through May in order to allow construction to begin as soon as possible," said Darin Bergquist, secretary of the Department of Transportation.
In addition to the projects already planned in the 2009 Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP), DOT plans to have over 240 miles of paving and nearly 28 miles of pavement rehabilitation under construction this summer in addition to 33 bridges and 28 safety improvement projects already under construction.
"The variety of projects on the list will not only improve the condition of South Dakota’s highway system, but they will also greatly improve the safety of our highways," Bergquist said.
(Amy Brady is communications manager at the South Dakota Department of Transportation.)