Monday, the Obama administration announced that it won’t allow infrastructure funds to sit idle as a result of stalled earmark projects. It’s making more than $470 million in unspent earmarks immediately available to states for projects that they claim will create jobs and help improve transportation. The money was not spent, it was already budgeted for the fiscal years from 2003 – 2006. This authorizes the secretary of transportation to make the unused funds available for eligible surface transportation projects.
“We are freeing up these funds so states can get down to the business of moving transportation projects forward and putting our friends and neighbors back to work,” said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
State departments of transportation now will have the ability to use their unspent earmarked highway funds, some of which are nearly 10 years old, on any eligible highway, transit, passenger rail, or port project. States must identify the projects they plan to use the funds for by October 1, and must obligate them by December 31, 2012.
“Particularly in these difficult fiscal times, states will be able to put these dollars to good use,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez.
The complete list of available funds can be accessed here: DOT.GOV