|President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, on Mar. 3, 2009, released $26.6 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to states and local transportation authorities to repair and build highways, roads, and bridges.|
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)-an unprecedented effort to jumpstart our economy, create or save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges-was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Feb. 17, 2009. Two weeks later, on Mar. 3, 2009, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited USDOT headquarters in Washington, D.C., to release $26.6 billion from the ARRA to states and local transportation authorities to repair and build highways, roads, and bridges. Both actions triggered a flurry of public inquiries to USDOT that is not expected to let up for some time. The Office of the Secretary of Transportation has turned to RITA for help in making sure that all inquiring members of the public are provided with the information they seek.
By acting as the single point of contact and communication with the public on ARRA activities related to transportation, RITA's National Transportation Library (NTL) is now supporting all of the USDOT's modal agencies. To begin, NTL staff created a vital FAQ web page about USDOT recovery efforts. Next, all emails and phone calls from the public regarding transportation- related stimulus and recovery measures were routed to the NTL's Reference Service Team, which now handles all such calls. ARRA-related inquiries received by the team range from questions about state certifications and rules for funding grants, to questions about how to acquire funding or contracts for various businesses. NTL has added additional full-time staff to meet public demand answers and assistance, having long prided itself on its ability to respond to most inquiries within 24 hours.
NTL will be mobilized as long as necessary to provide answers to callers who are looking to play a role in advancing the ARRA's goals. For more information on Recovery activities at US DOT, including weekly updates, go to: http://www.dot.gov/recovery/.