The US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has allocated $48.8bn in highway funds to state departments of transportation for federal projects.

Funding was made available through the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, which offers $40.1bn from the Highway Trust Fund for highway programmes for the financial year 2010.

The Act also facilitates the return of $8.7bn to states for cancellations made in 2009 under certain provisions.

With the spring and summer highway construction season just beginning, the annual allocation and restoration of money is expected to enable states to make long-term plans.