Changes Proposed for the Funding of Public Works Projects Would Expedite Economic Development and Job Opportunities

CED-77-86: Published: Jul 7, 1977. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 1977.

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Fifteen hundred public works projects, or over 50% of those approved by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) since 1965, have been delayed in getting under construction, causing economic development and job opportunities to be postponed or lost.

Between fiscal years 1966 and 1975, the EDA approved grants of $1.4 billion to construct 2,800 public works projects in areas of substantial and persistent unemployment. Although construction should start within 1 year after the project is approved, 54% of these projects exceeded 1 year, and 20 projects approved over 5 years ago are not yet under construction. Millions of dollars have remained obligated to some projects, while others have not been approved for lack of funds. Delays often occur because projects are approved on the basis of preliminary design. Creation of a two-step grant system would permit reuse of funds if projects experienced considerable delays during design.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should amend the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 to authorize two grants for public works projects--one for project design and one for project construction. This would provide financial assistance to communities for designing projects without committing funds for construction until the projects are ready to bid. Since the EDA's 1-year appropriations will restrict implementation of a two-step grant system, Congress should make public works appropriations available for 2 fiscal years.


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