MATT APUZZO and BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE
Associated Press
March 18, 2009

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama wants governors to hurry up and begin building bridges and schools to revive the economy. His administration is learning that spending $787 billion as quickly and transparently as promised is no easy task.

[efoods]States wanting desperately to tap into the new money are having trouble keeping track of the application deadlines and requirements in the 400-page stimulus bill. Governors must sign pledges saying they’ll spend the money appropriately, but the administration is still figuring out what the rules are.

"Well, that’s kind of scary," said Richard Eckstrom, South Carolina’s comptroller general.

Hanging over all of this are two threats. The first was written into the law, saying that if states miss a deadline or don’t spend the money fast enough, they lose the cash. Vice President Joe Biden delivered the second threat last week, warning that if states misspend the money, "don’t look for any help from the federal government for a long while."

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