DEFINITION of 'Shovel-Ready'

A term widely used by President Barack Obama to describe a construction project that could be started as soon as it received funding. A truly "shovel-ready" project should already be planned and permitted. This term is typically used to describe infrastructure projects such as improvements to roads, bridges, highways and public transportation.

BREAKING DOWN 'Shovel-Ready'

Obama's 2009 stimulus package, passed in an attempt to spark economic recovery from the Great Recession, was supposed to fund numerous shovel-ready projects and create jobs. It was also supposed to jump-start the struggling construction industry. Time-consuming regulatory requirements delayed many projects, however, while others never happened, which subjected the president to much criticism.

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