WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that the country is already "seeing shovels hit the ground" on the first infrastructure repair project funded through the Transportation Department's share of the $787 billion stimulus bill.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood added, "The work begins today in Montgomery County, Maryland, where a work crew is starting on a project to resurface Maryland State Highway 650 - a very busy road that has not been fully repaired in 17 years."
Obama and LaHood made the announcement during an appearance before federal workers at the Transportation Department.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Sunday that the Obama administration will provide funding for state transportation projects quickly once the stimulus bill is passed. But decisions about which projects to fund will be made “correctly, by the book, with no shortcuts.”
Asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King whether the White House would waive environmental regulations and other requirements that could slow new infrastructure projects, LaHood said the administration would not grant any waivers.
“It would be different if every one of these states didn’t have projects,” the Republican Cabinet member said.
“These states have had a pent-up demand for these projects to get funded . . . they haven’t had the money to do it . . .We don’t need to waive anything. This is going to be done by the book, according to the rules, no shortcuts, no earmarks.”
LaHood also emphasized that there will be no earmarks in the nearly trillion-dollar stimulus bill currently under consideration in the Senate.
“The president has said all through this and set a very high bar – no earmarks. The money has to go to projects that are ready to go in the states.”
“There aren’t going to be any boondoggles. This money will be spent correctly, by the book, with no shortcuts.”
Watch: LaHood on State of the Union
(CNN) - Former Congressman Ray LaHood's confirmation hearing to be the next secretary of transportation has been postponed because LaHood's "paperwork" isn't done yet, a Senate aide told CNN.