Stimulus Job Creation Put To Reality Check

Monday, March 30th 2009, 6:25 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The News On 6 is tracking the stimulus money to projects in Tulsa to see if it will create jobs.

Of the $230 million in state contracts awarded on Monday, just $7 million will come to Tulsa County.

At a distance, the bridge at State Highway 151 at Hwy 51 in Tulsa County looks fine, but up close the decay is obvious. The state considers the bridge overdue for replacement.

ODOT is able to do it now because of the stimulus package and that will help Tulsa based Manhattan Road & Bridge keep working.

"We also take it as an opportunity to hire some additional personnel for this project which is what the stimulus requires," said Todd Saxton with Manhattan Road & Bridge.

The state awarded $7.1 million of stimulus project money to Manhattan.

The job is a replacement of both a highway and railroad bridge in far west Tulsa County on State Highway 151.

ODOT has about $380 million worth of road work ahead because of the stimulus package.

The state isn't sure how many jobs that will create, but the federal government estimate is that for all stimulus work, Oklahoma will have 40,000 jobs either created or retained.

"I think it serves a combination of both, both retention of existing workforces and the expansion of both key and skilled labor workforces," said Saxton.

Saxton says the job will keep two dozen people on the payroll for about 7 months. Other local companies will supply the materials.

"The remainder of the contract will be major items like concrete and steel for the plate girders and reinforcement in the concrete," said Saxton.

Altogether the stimulus package has $2.6 billion for Oklahoma. The biggest chunk of that money, almost $1 billion, will go into government health and welfare programs.

A couple of other projects are worth noting -- the contract to redo part of the IDL was delayed because of some typos in the state documents, that's in the stimulus package.

Another big job that's not in the stimulus package is the rebuild of the I-44 interchange at the casino in Catoosa.

The only bid for the job came in too high, so it's going to be put back out for bids.