Missouri Department of Transportation officials say they didn’t just meet the deadline for spending a certain amount of the federal economic stimulus money, they beat it.

MoDOT has already obligated more than half the money coming from the federal government, well before the June 30th deadline to do so. MoDOT spokesman Sally Oxenhandler says a provision in the economic stimulus act threatens to pull money from states that don’t use it soon enough.

"One of the other things that’s important about that is that it sets us up to possibly get additional funds if other states do not obligate their funds by the June 30th deadline," says Oxenhandler.

No one is sure whether the federal government is serious about pulling funding from states that lag behind and giving it to states which meet the deadline, but MoDOT is hoping that will be the case.

To date, MoDOT has obligated $223 million in federal funds, already awarding 91 contracts that total $178.6 million. Work includes paving, bridge work and new interchanges. The Federal Highway Administration estimates the spending has created nearly 5,000 jobs.

Oxenhandler says preparation well ahead of time led to the success Missouri has had so far.

"We were ready to go the minute we got that money," Oxenhandler says, "And, as a result, we started work on the Osage River bridge project near Tuscumbia within minutes of the president signing the federal act."

Missouri was the first state to use federal transportation dollars from the stimulus package.

All of the federal funds for Missouri transportation projects must be obligated by March 2, 2010.

More information on the economic stimulus projects can be found at MoDOT’s Web site .

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (1:15 MP3)