New York Stimulus Counter: $3 M. Spent, $2.861 B. to Go

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week posted its most recent numbers on state-by-state infrastructure spending in the federal stimulus package. The result: Money certainly doesn’t get out the door quickly. As of May 31, according to the committee, of the $2.86 billion going to New York State for physical infrastructure, just $3.2 million had been “outlayed,” or spent since the stimulus funds became available in early March.

Specific projects weren’t detailed, but generally, the money has been allocated toward road paving, bridge repairs, and some larger transit projects in New York City.

Of course, there’s a number of steps to go through before money is actually spent on infrastructure, and the numbers for other categories show a bit more movement. For instance, $1.3 billion in stimulus money is associated with projects that have been put out to bid, and $164 million is linked to projects that are under contract.

This illustrates one of the concerns some had with relying on infrastructure projects for economic stimulus: even though cities and states can rapidly point to projects like bridge repairs and even quickly award contracts, the bulk of the money doesn’t hit the streets (in the hands of laborers) for quite a while, as some of these jobs take multiple years (an example: the Fulton Street Transit Center, which is getting $424 million in stimulus funds, isn’t slated to be finished until 2014).

New York doesn’t seem to be particularly extreme in this case. A number of states are listed as having spent more thus far (Iowa, $16.7 million; New Jersey, $20.8 million), but most have spent less.

ebrown@observer.com New York Stimulus Counter: $3 M. Spent, $2.861 B. to Go