Stimulus money for buildings?

One of the questions posed in my July/August issue editorial:

When are we going to see stimulus money spent on something other than roads?
   Not soon, according to a survey released July 30 by the Associated General Contractors of America, Arlington, VA. According to the report, “the stimulus plan appears to be having little influence on construction companies’ ability to expand payrolls to date. The disappointingly slow pace of construction spending outside of the transportation sector is one of the main reasons for the relatively small impact on new hiring.”
   Association CEO Stephen Sandherr said that we are five months into a federal stimulus program that has approximately $135 billion dedicated for construction projects and there is little difference in hiring and purchasing patterns between companies doing stimulus-funded work and companies that aren’t. He stated that while 36% of construction companies with stimulus-funded work plan to hire new employees, an almost identical percentage of firms without stimulus-funded work also plan to make new hires this year or next.
   Why? Very little of the stimulus dollars have resulted in actual construction work. The Army Corps of Engineers has $4.6 billion and has only paid out $84 million. The General Services Administration has $5.9 billion and has paid out only $12 million.—Gary L. Parr

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