Five companies have been invited to bid for contracts to put Iraq's infrastructure back together after a decade of sanctions and the expected US-led war.
US firms are lining up to repair bridges and roads
Among the five is a subsidiary of Halliburton, the oil and construction giant run by US Vice President Dick Cheney for five years till 2000.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) told the AFP news agency that the five were part of a "limited selection process" intended to speed up contracting given the "urgent nature or the unique nature of the work".
Reports in the Wall Street Journal suggested the contracts could be worth as much as $900m.
The deal on offer grows out of a 13-page document, "Vision for Post-Conflict Iraq", circulated to the five companies and to a small group of White House insiders, the Wall Street Journal reported.
All five firms shortlisted have long experience with infrastructure projects in the Middle East.
Aside from Halliburton unit Kellogg Brown and Root, they include Bechtel, Fluor, Louis Berger and Parsons. All five are US-owned and headquartered.
Kellogg Brown and Root has already landed a Defense Department contract to extinguish any oilwells set alight by retreating Iraqi forces.
As well as the infrastructure deal, the Wall Street Journal said that contracts to run ports, airports, healthcare, schools and power and water were on offer.