Guvs to Obama: Public Works Projects Will Take Time

Programs may take a while to start
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2008 1:50 PM CST
Mysore Nagaraja, President of MTA Capital Construction, talks to reporters about the East Side Access Tunnel Monday, June 11, 2007 in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama’s plan to throw hundreds of billions of dollars into state infrastructure projects may not be as effective as he imagines in stimulating the economy, some state officials say. Yesterday, governors told the president-elect that they had $136 billion in projects ready to go, but the National Governors Association says fewer than half could break ground in the next six months. Many would take 24 months, which might be too slow to help the economy.

Determining which projects are ready is surprisingly tough, and even if workers were “literally, putting shovels into the dirt within a few months,” as Arnold Schwarzenegger boasted of some California projects, only a fraction of the money would be spent upfront. Some Republicans, meanwhile, are leery of any spending. “We ought to have our eyes open,” said Indiana’s governor. “These steps come with a cost.”