Obama Administration Frees Up Unspent Earmark Funds
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 will create jobs and help improve transportation.
$473 million in highway earmarks from FY2003-2006 appropriations acts remain unspent. Those acts contain provisions that authorize 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.
Funds not obligated by the December 31 deadline will be proportionally redistributed in FY 2013 to states that met the deadline. A list of available funds by state can be accessed here: www.fhwa.dot.gov/pressroom/redisfy0306earmarks.htm