Feds release nearly $500 million for transportation projects

By |  August 22, 2012

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood announced earlier this month that the Obama administration is making $473 million available to states for infrastructure projects.

Congress earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars between 2003 and 2006, but $473 million of it was never spent. DOT is allowing states to apply those dollars to any highway, transit, passenger rail or port projects already approved by the department, but states must identify the projects on which they intend to spend the rescinded funds by Oct. 1. They must obligate the money by Dec. 31.

States can only use the funding amount already allocated to them, and any funding that is not obligated by the end of the year will be proportionally distributed to states that meet the deadline.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Alabama is the biggest winner of the new money, with an opportunity to spend $51.5 million that had been set aside, but never used, for 33 projects. California is also a big winner, with $43.1 million to spend. Wyoming is the only state that has no unspent earmarks.

The announcement was made during a conference call with reporters. During the call, LaHood was asked why now for the announcement, when some of the earmarks are almost 10 years old. In response, LaHood said that in the first two years of the Obama administration, DOT was focused on spending the $48 billion allocated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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