The Obama administration announced last week it is making more than $470 million in unobligated earmark funds available to states for transportation infrastructure 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," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.
Those state transportation departments that have unspent earmarks, which were originally appropriated in fiscal years 2003-2006, can use their unused earmark funds on any eligible highway, transit, passenger rail, or port project they choose.
"Particularly in these difficult fiscal times, states will be able to put these dollars to good use," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "These funds will create jobs in the short term and help bring about what President Obama called 'an America built to last.'"
States must identify their projects by Oct. 1 and obligate them by Dec. 31. Any funds not obligated by the end of the year will be redistributed in FY 2013 to states that did meet the deadline.
"The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials looks forward to supporting our members as they make the appropriate decisions about the disposition of this funding," said AASHTO Director of Program Finance and Management Jack Basso.