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Mo. awards bridge project right after Obama signs bill

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Work began today to replace an aging bridge in mid-Missouri, just minutes after President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus package into law.

The State Highways and Transportation Commission monitored the president's speech leading up to the bill signing, from the site of the 76-year-old Osage River Bridge near Tuscumbia. Once signed, the commission voted to award the contract to APAC-Kansas City.

Governor Jay Nixon told the crowd on hand that the federal stimulus bill will have an immediate impact.

"The folks working this backhoe back here this week, when it comes to Friday, they're gonna have a paycheck...that paycheck will be cashed right here in the state of Missouri, and they'll pay for their families' education, their food, and their housing with it...all across the state, it's projects like these, and (as) others begin to jump up, people will start to work again," Nixon said.

Missouri's share of federal stimulus transportation dollars is just under $970 million. MoDOT plans to spend the bulk of it, $661 million, on highways and bridges.

"We're gonna build our way out of this recession, and move this state and this country forward," Nixon said.

MoDOT needs to spend at least half of the state's federal stimulus dollars over the next three to six months in order to be guaranteed the rest of it.