SNEAK PEEK: U.S. DOT frees up $473 million in dead earmarks for other projects

Tina Grady Barbaccia

September 17, 2012

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) decision to take $473 million from 671 unused 2003 to 2006 earmarks could be likened to a Robin Hood scenario — stealing from the rich to help the poor — but it could also get the transportation industry moving.

Under current legislation, the Obama Administration has had the authority to rescind the earmarks, but this is the first time it has been done, according to the U.S. DOT.

Each state’s unused funding will remain allocated to that state, as long as the work can begin by year-end 2012.

State DOTs must submit a plan for the use of the money to the U.S. DOT, and any funds not obligated by Dec. 31 will be redistributed to other states. Funds not obligated by the Dec. 31 deadline will be proportionally redistributed in FY 2013 to states that met the deadline.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood says this decision to make the unspent earmarks immediately available to other states “will create jobs and help improve transportation across the country.”

Effective Aug. 17, state departments of transportation 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, according to the U.S. DOT. 

For more, see the October 2012 print edition of Aggregates Manager or check out the Aggregates Manager Digital Edition, October 2012 issue, next month at

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