Nearly $50 billion in highway funds available to states

Nearly $50 billion in federal funds is available to states for the spring and summer construction season through a new law, the Transportation Department announced Wednesday. 

The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE) extends funding authority for surface transportation programs through the end of 2010, providing an additional $40.1 billion to the Highway Trust Fund, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today. 

"These funds will help make it easier for states to put people back to work and begin long-term projects," LaHood said. 

The law also restores $8.7 billion to states that was rescinded under the 2005 federal surface transportation law that has been extended while Congress works on a new six-year bill.