Earmark Funding: Obama's “We Can’t Wait” Initiative

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Aug 22, 2012 3:00:00 AM

aging infrastructure, infrastructure earmarks, idle earmarks, DOT, Department of Transportation, infrastructure projectsThe White House announced last Friday that it would redirect $473 million of “idle” earmark funding to highway projects as part of President Obama’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative. The plan will redistribute unspent earmarks from FY 2003-2006 and would be “immediately available to states for projects,” including eligible highway, transit, passenger rail, and port projects, “that will create jobs and help improve transportation across the country.” Some of the earmarked highway funds are nearly 10 years old.

States must identify the projects for which they plan to use the funds by October 1, and must obligate them by December 31, 2012. "Use it or lose it" is the name of the idle earmarks game.

Thus far, four surface transportation projects will be expedited under his initiative, including the $25 million Kennebec Bridge Replacement project in Maine (leveraging TIGER funds), the $100 million Devils Lake Rail Improvements project in North Dakota (TIGER III), the $89 million Point Defiance Bypass project in Washington State, and the $3.5 billion Columbia River Crossing project in Oregon and Washington State.

Each state is eligible to receive funding based on how much earmark funding it received but did not spend. Alabama would receive a major share of funding, $51.5 million; California, $43 million; Ohio, $12.5 million; Oregon and North Carolina, just $800,000 and $700,000, respectively. The Department of Transportation has the full funding breakdown that provided these numbers.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/08/17/162678/states-to-get-nearly-500-million.html#storylink=cpy

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