published Saturday, August 18th, 2012

States get money for projects

ONLINE

To see the list of projects, visit http://tinyurl.com/cdauurf

EARMARK RELEASES

Tennessee: $7,037858

Georgia: $11,045,956

Alabama: $51,488,748

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

The tri-state area is missing out on nearly $70 million the federal government is releasing from unused earmark money in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.

East and West Tennessee; Huntsville and Gadsden, Ala., and several Georgia cities will receive money for road widening, sidewalks and bike paths, but no projects in the immediate area were on the list released by the White House on Friday.

It’s part of $473 million being released across the U.S. for infrastructure projects and job creation, according to the White House news release.

The money comes from earmarks — special projects secured by members of Congress — budgeted from fiscal 2003 to 2006 but never used, the release stated. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday that state departments of transportation can use the funds on any eligible highway, transit, passenger rail, or port project.

He said freeing the money will allow states to “get down to the business of moving transportation projects forward and putting our friends and neighbors back to work.”

States have until the end of the year to commit the money to projects. Any uncommitted funds will be taken from the late states and given to those that met the deadline, the release stated.

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