The transportation piece of the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus program has paid out more than $7 billion in the first nine months of 2011 to reimburse states for completed projects, according to the Recovery.gov website.

Although the Department of Transportation’s stimulus payouts slowed this year from their peak pace in 2010, the new figures show the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act continues to inject large sums into state and federal projects. Through Sept. 30, the DOT had reimbursed $31.8 billion since the program got under way about 30 months earlier, up from $24.8 billion at the end of 2010.

That included about $700 million in DOT-issued checks just since the week ending Sept. 2, after states certified last month that more stimulus-backed projects were done. For the entire summer period when road and other transportation construction is busiest, the DOT paid out nearly $3.2 billion from May 28 through September.

The continuing release of $48.1 billion ARRA funds by the DOT is both a timely boost to strapped state budgets and an illustration of how long a major infrastructure program can spend out. President Obama now wants Congress to approve his jobs plan with a big transport construction program, while lawmakers in both the Senate and House are looking for ways to boost revenue for a separate long-term surface transportation bill.

Most of the DOT’s stimulus money went through the Federal Highway Administration, which backed 13,300 projects, of which 9,100 have been finished and another 3,900 are now under way. As of Sept. 30, $47.6 billion had been formally locked in under implementing agreements.

– Contact John D. Boyd at jboyd@joc.com. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/jboydjoc