States are quickly assembling their construction wish lists. But it takes time to advertise for contractors, collect bids, check the numbers, pick a winner and get work underway.
A typical paving project - easy roadwork - takes close to three months from the time the money is approved to the arrival of work boots on the ground, according to the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials.
"It is not an instant process," says a spokesman.
President Obama and Vice President Biden know their unprecedented $787 billion emergency spending package has to put hard hats on America's streets soon - or their administration risks losing credibility.