Governor starts spending stimulus

RALEIGH She said $466 million will be spent on 70 highway and bridge projects. The Governor estimates that will create about 14,000 jobs.

“Our overriding goal is to get North Carolina’s economy moving by funding transportation projects that will create jobs from the mountains to the coast,” Perdue said in a statement sent to the media.

Perdue said the new federal stimulus law requires states to obligate the first half of transportation stimulus money within 120 days of receipt, and the remaining half to projects within a year. So in deciding where to spend the money, the biggest factor was whether the projects could be under contract by June.

She said she'll announce where she plans to spend the second chunk of federal money in the next 45 days.

Among the Triangle area projects to get funding in the first wave are repaving I-440 and I-540 in Wake County, widening Old Oxford Highway in Durham, and adding lanes to Booker Dairy Road in Johnson County. Cumberland County will see the most with $63.4 million for the I-295 project.

Click here to read the complete list (.pdf)

Some republicans say bigger cities should be getting a bigger chunk of the money.

"I think unfortunately what we're seeing is at least some initial concerns about is politics playing more of a role in these decisions than merit," Republican Leader Sen. Phil Berger said.

Republicans are applauding Perdue for wanting more transparency and accountability in the department of transportation, an agency that's been plagued with problems and multi-million dollar mistakes. But they're concerned she and others may be banking too much on the stimulus as a bailout for our state.

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