States use stimulus money on 'smart roads'

May 22, 2009 at 1:29 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 22 (UPI) -- Many states plan to use U.S. federal stimulus funds for technological fixes to traffic congestion, like signs to warn drivers of upcoming problems.

The states have a deadline, June 29, for reporting spending plans for half of the $26.7 billion allotted for transportation projects, reported Wednesday.

James Rall, an analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said "smart road" projects have an advantage over construction like widening or repaving highways. They can be planned relatively quickly.

"They can move forward very fast," he said.

Other "smart road" measures are cameras to monitor traffic, automated toll collection lanes with equipment that can read stickers on cars and computer-controlled traffic signals.

Federal officials suggest that technological projects will also do more for the economy because most of the spending goes to salaries. In construction and repair projects a majority of the money goes to materials and equipment.

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