Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Let the infrastructure projects begin

Marketplace Staff May 21, 2009
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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Let the infrastructure projects begin

Marketplace Staff May 21, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: It’s been about three months since President Obama signed the stimulus bill. Now, some of those shovel-ready projects we’ve been hearing about? They’re actually happening. Tamara Keith takes us to one transportation project in Maryland.


Tamara Keith: The very first transportation project to get started is a mile-long stretch of potholed road in Silver Spring, Md.

Scot Dauphinais: I think it’s 20 years or so without any maintenance on this road. It’s so highly traveled that it was in dire need to be fixed.

Scot Dauphinais is chief engineer on the $2 million project. His firm, American Infrastructure, won the contract.

Repaving this piece of New Hampshire Avenue isn’t as glamorous as fixing a majestic bridge, but really, this is your stimulus dollars at work. Nationally, re-surfacing roads is huge.

A crew of guys has coned off a lane and is fortifying a storm drain. Dauphinais says they’ll fix 31 of them, along with a bunch of curb ramps, before paving.

Keith: Basically if repaving is sort of the unsexy part of a stimulus package, then this is the unsexy part of repaving.

Dauphinais: You could say that. I mean this is the, everybody sees the paving and the milling as the big operations cause that’s when we have the big machines out here, but this work is absolutely necessary to do before we can mill or pave the road.

And it means jobs. American Infrastructure has 60 people on this project. Before the stimulus came along, 20 of them had been laid off.

But the jobs don’t stop there. Another contractor employs William Denford. His job inspecting the project is his first work in four months.

William Denford: I like to work, so I was glad when I got the call, but I was just surprised because I couldn’t find work anywhere, you know, making decent money.

Denford gives full credit to the stimulus package.

Denford: They say I’m supposed to make a pay check and then go out and spend money to help the economy. But I’m just spending money to live, to survive right now. Hahaha.

No big spending for Denford — not until he’s certain he’ll still have a job after the stimulus runs out.

In Silver Spring, Md., I’m Tamara Keith for Marketplace.

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