Virginia ranks last place in spending stimulus funds on transportation projects.
By Sara Sciammacco
Virginia is last when it comes to spending federal stimulus dollars on transportation projects. State officials say they used a slow diligent process, but some in Congress are frustrated with the approach because many Virginians are still out of work.
Congress passed a stimulus bill to get the U.S. out of a recession and get paychecks in the hands of Americans, including the 7 percent in Virginia who are unemployed. The state got $700 million federal dollars, but so far spent only 23 percent of it. Democrat Bobby Scott says he is disappointed with the progress.
"Other states just started spending the money," he says. "We couldn't get the money spent quicker but I think the money is being spent and people are being put to work, not as quickly as I would have liked."
Virginia officials say they vetted each highway project carefully. That's why construction has been slow to get off the ground. House transportation committee staffers, who helped compile the list, are urging lagging states to pick up the pace.
Despite Virginia's low-rank, the state has not missed any federal deadlines set under the law.