Among the projects funded completely or partially with stimulus money were improvements to US 14A west of Cody, US 18 west of Lusk, I-80 between Rock Springs and Green River, WYO 116 south of Upton, US 16-20 west of Moneta and West Lincolnway (I-80 Business Route) in Cheyenne
“ The ARRA funds preserved jobs and helped put people back to work,” said Joe Dailey, Federal Highway Administration division administrator for Wyoming. “The 69 projects represent a long-term investment in Wyoming infrastructure and communities, as well as the local and regional economies as a whole.”
The stimulus money was used for pavement preservation, road rehabilitation , safety and bridge improvements. As with all federal highway aid, WYDOT was required to spend 3 percent of the funds on enhancement projects, such as pedestrian and bicycle paths, lighting and landscaping, to improve local communities.
“The goal of ARRA funding for highways was to stimulate the economy while improving the nation’s transportation infrastructure and we accomplished that in Wyoming,” WYDOT Director John Cox said. “We got a lot of badly needed work done on our highways and bridges, and contractors got work they needed to help them through a tough economic time.”
Because WYDOT has a large backlog of needed projects designed and waiting for funding, the department was able to get the stimulus money obligated and spent quickly, Cox said. WYDOT had all of its stimulus funds obligated through contracts by the end of September 2009, the first DOT in the nation to accomplish that.
“Working from our list of projects and needs, we considered the priorities and requirements in the law, assembled a project list, and aggressively scheduled lettings to award contracts,” he said.
One reason WYDOT pushed to obligate the money as quickly as possible was the belief that bid prices for the projects would be most competitive in the early months of the program. That turned out to be true, with bids coming in lower than WYDOT estimated, allowing the department to fund additional stimulus projects.
As welcome as the stimulus money was, Cox said WYDOT needs to be able to count on stable, consistent investment in the transportation system. The last federal transportation funding program expired more than a two years ago, and Congress has been relying on short-term funding extensions since.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the Wyoming Legislature in making further progress on transportation investments in Wyoming,” Cox said. “We will keep putting funds to work promptly and effectively.”