Federal Stimulus Money Targets Transportation, Safety
With recent Federal Economic Stimulus money coming under intense scrutiny, transparency in spending has never been more important. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has provided over 10 billion dollars to the Department of Transportation to be distributed among the states’ budgets.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced that it will provide a portion of the Recovery Act with the ultimate goal being to “invest in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide longer term economic benefits.” This effectively gives regional and local governments the capital to finish projects that may have stalled due to lack of funds, provides the governments with the capacity to accelerate current projects, as well as the leeway to plan future projects independent from financial concerns.
There are several focus areas for the budgeted program activities: transportation enhancement, new construction, bridge replacement, and safety/traffic management make up just a few of the numerous obligations on the list. Additionally, the improvements scheduled for both new construction and reconstruction of old roadways focus on the 4 Rs: Resurfacing, Restoration, Rehabilitation, and Relocation.
Not only is the FHWA set to infuse local and regional governments with a large stimulus of capital, the FHWA Division Offices will assess risks, vulnerabilities, and institute a risk management plans as a precaution. The FHWA has also pledged to maintain a close watch that all the funding goes to the organizations and projects to which it was intended; site visits and analysis of data, as well as periodic program reviews will be required in a national oversight strategy designed to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. While individual sites will vary, it appears that data and reporting will take place monthly, with reviews happening monthly as well. Analysis of the data provides for insight into trends of performance as well as providing information pertinent to risk management for future endeavors.
Safety of Construction Workers
Over 600 million dollars of this money is targeted at increasing safety for drivers and members of construction crews working on or around highways. The number of injuries sustained on the job for construction workers is on the rise. The number of fatalities and serious debilitating injuries within the construction worker field is staggering comparatively speaking. According to the latest data released by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction site accidents accounted for the highest number of fatal occupational injuries, that is, deadly accident while on a construction work site. In 2007, 1,204 fatalities were reported. The safety funding is absolutely paramount in improving the knowledge and understanding of construction workers in order to prevent injury or death.
Many victims of a construction accident injury find themselves either unable to find work befitting their skill set or faced with insurmountable debt as well as intimidating amounts of paperwork, insurance claims, and a fair amount of heartache. Workers who have been injured on the job should consider contacting an experienced construction accident lawyer in the interest of protecting their financial and legal rights. Developing a lawsuit soon after suffering an injury is advisable, as there may be the possibility of being awarded monetary compensation for physical and mental suffering, lost wages, or permanent disability.