The ink was barely dry on the bill signed by President Barack Obama when work began on the first of the transportation projects to be funded with federal economic stimulus dollars.

State Transportation Director Pete Rahn, MoDOT, and construction officials gathered in Tuscumbia for the start of construction of a new bridge across the Osage River. Rahn says this is one of four Missouri projects to be funded with federal stimulus money. This project was signed within minutes of the President signing the federal stimulus bill, prompting Rahn to say this is the first construction project awarded anywhere in the country.

Rahn expects transportation efforts to receive $637-million through the stimulus package, with $525-million targeted for projects under the control of MoDOT. He says these transportation dollars do not have to go through the regular legislative appropriations process, provided the Transportation Commission approves the projects. The four Missouri projects have been approved by the Commission.