Although the stimulus package that Barack Obama signed last month contains eye-watering sums, the earliest projects out of the gate are far from monumental: widening a highway in Kansas, resurfacing some roads in Missouri. More than a dozen states have announced their plans to spend their share of the $50 billion in federal infrastructure money, reports the New York Times. Thousands of small projects are expected to employ up to 400,000 Americans.
Most of the transportation projects were already planned by state governments but canceled or postponed due to the recession. While many state officials were disappointed with the size of the transportation package, a desperate construction industry—where unemployment is twice the national average—may offer states bargains to get work. "I'll tell you," said one Texas construction exec, "the first round of the stimulus, I think the work’s going to go pretty cheap."