The Missouri Department of Transportation has reopened bids on projects they had to cancel because of lack of funding. Projects will now happen since the President signed a jobs bill into law.

Click the image to go to MoDOT's Web page. (Photo courtesy MoDOT.)

(Photo courtesy MoDOT.)

MoDOT has been sitting on its hands because of a $243 million shortfall in funding for roads and bridges in Missouri. But now that President Obama has signed the jobs bill, that money’s been released.

MoDOT spokesman Jorma Duran says the department had no choice but to put all projects on hold until today. He says projects that were scheduled to open for bids in February and March will now open in April and May. Duran says although MoDOT Director Pete Rahn laid out the Department’s five-year-plan for the Highway Commission last week, the lack of a permanent federal transportation bill is a big concern for fiscal planning.

He says when bidding stops, contractors don’t need workers and it could have been a
big deal that would have snowballed into a bad situation. He says a permanent federal transportation funding bill is still needed to ensure work on Missouri’s roads can continue into the future.

Obama had said he wanted to focus on creating jobs, but the health care legislation — and the focus on it — kept getting in the way.

The the jobs bill releases $38 billion total for the U.S. and is designed to mix tax breaks with spending to stimulate the economy and get the private sector to start hiring.

There jobs package includes $18 billion in tax breaks and $20 billion for highway and transit programs. Obama says it could generate 250,000 jobs by year’s end. About 8.4 million jobs have been lost since December 2007.

The tax breaks offer businesses that hire anyone who has been out of work for at least 60 days a tax exemption from the 6.2 percent Social Security taxes on payrolls for those new hires through the end of 2010. Employers also get a $1,000 credit for new hires that stay on the job for a year.

View the list of highway projects up for bid in your area HERE.

AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports [Download / listen Mp3, 1:07]