May 21, 2009 By Daniel C. Vock
Reprinted from Stateline.org
Not all the highway improvement projects states plan to pay for with federal stimulus money involve widening roads, fixing bridges or repaving highways. Nearly half the states plan to use some of their new funds to pay for high-tech gadgets that will reduce congestion, help the environment and create jobs quickly.
At least 22 states have told the federal government they want to make their roads "smarter" by installing traffic cameras, creating express toll lanes, improving traffic signals and alerting drivers about accidents or delays ahead, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Such projects are "quick, they can move forward very fast, they create jobs and they're effective in the short and long term," said Jaime Rall, an NCSL analyst.
States are under the gun to tell the federal government how they plan to use $26.7 billion in federal stimulus money for transportation. They have until June 29 to commit half of that money to specific projects, so states are focusing on projects that can get started quickly.
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