Contractors are paid in stages, as the work is finished, Pitrolo said, and 41 projects have not yet started, according to the DOT.
"Stimulus dollars let us do road projects we might not have gotten to in 10 years," Pitrolo said.
West Virginia's stimulus funds cover 39 sewer projects, 14 water projects, more than 150 highway and bridge projects, a statewide broadband project and more than 1,500 line items.
The Department of Environmental Protection has $61 million for 39 sewer projects, but has actually spent only 39 percent of those dollars.
All those projects are under contract, said DEP chief engineer Mike Johnson. "We used the $61 million to leverage money from other sources to a total value of $140 million," he said. "That took time."
The DEP is doing as many sewer projects this year as it normally does in three years, Johnson said. The first project, in Kermit, McDowell County, started in April 2009. "That's 77 percent complete now. All the rest are between 10 percent and 80 percent done," he said.
"It takes time, but we're making a big dent in the problems out there."
Long-term positive effect
"A lot of this money goes to things that will have a long-term positive effect in the state: sewer, water, infrastructure," Pitrolo said. "It's a good investment in the state's future. These projects will be worth waiting for."
The eastern end of Kanawha County will have new sewer and water projects and will be part of the new broadband system, for instance. That will make the area a lot more attractive to business, he said.
The governor's office has received $449 million, by state figures, but has spent only 4 percent. The governor's account includes a $120 million statewide broadband award received a month ago, the Community Service Block Grant, smaller grants, and $217 million to backfill the budgets of the school system and higher education.
"Because we can backfill education with stimulus dollars, we have not had to lay off teachers like some states have," Pitrolo said. "We're backfilling this year's education budget, starting next month, and next year's budget, too."
Manchin also had $48 million in discretionary stimulus dollars. He has made awards for dropout prevention, the National Youth Science Foundation, and repair and replacement of leaking school roofs, Pitrolo said.
And that 1 percent spending at the Department of Commerce?
About half its money - $32 million - will pay for energy-efficient retrofitting of state buildings, Goes said. "You have to go through rights of ways, engineering, historic preservation. You draw up a plan to change windows, and they tell you no."
Commerce soon will award $10 million in competitive energy efficiency grants to local and regional groups. Water projects are planned and starting.
"All that sounds good," Delegate Guthrie said, "but I still have a lot of questions."
'It's not over'
Millions of dollars also went directly to West Virginia counties, cities and nonprofits like community health centers. "We don't have information on those projects, because they don't have to report to us," Pitrolo said.
Individual West Virginians also got millions of dollars in tax credits and programs such as Cash for Clunkers and homebuyer credits. "The Tax Department is adding that up now," Scalise said.
Through the end of March, 2,374 West Virginia jobs were created or preserved, by state report. The DOT stimulus money has "been a lifesaver, and still is," said Steve White, director of the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation, which represents construction workers. "It came along just at the right time. A lot of our people who would have been unemployed were able to work."
The state originally was allocated $1.8 billion. By 2015, West Virginia most likely will have received well over $2 billion, Pitrolo predicted.
"All the state money is spoken for," he said, but counties, towns and nonprofits can still apply directly to the federal government for selected projects. "It's not over."
Reach Kate Long at (304) 348-1798 or katel...@wvgazette.com.
Read more about West Virginia's stimulus spending later this week in The Charleston Gazette.