KYW Regional Affairs Council
by Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Without a doubt, the stimulus program has fueled construction jobs.
Workers at Philadelphia’s Buckley & Company have been digging, pouring, and paving area roads with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”). CEO Robert Buckley says without that federal stimulus money, many of his crew could well be out of work.
“It allowed us to keep about 120 people employed through this last 18 months of work,” Buckley (right) says. “Without that work we’d have to get rid of a lot of people.”
There are 30 Penndot road projects in the five-county area funded by $258 million in stimulus funds. Two-thirds of those projects are completed.
Buckley’s firm worked on three big ones: the Girard Point Bridge; the City Avenue, Lincoln Drive, and Ridge Avenue interchange (see related story); and the Twin Bridges (see related story). Buckley says the stimulus work is welcome at a time when local retail, condo, and apartment construction has slowed to a trickle.
“With the economy, most of the commercial work has stopped in the City of Philadelphia, because there’s too much space available for people to rent now,” Buckley says, “so there’s no commerical work being done except for the hospitals and the universities.”
Seventeen general contractors are working on area stimulus jobs. Buckley says the work not only allowed his firm to keep 120 jobs but has created business for his subcontactors and material suppliers as well.
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