U.S. Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood today released nearly $14 million in unspent highway funds to the New Jersey Department of Transportation to jumpstart 20 transportation projects, seven of which have been stalled for nearly a decade.
“Particularly in these difficult fiscal times, states will be able to put these dollars to good use,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said in a statement. “These funds will create jobs in the short term and help bring about what President (Barack) Obama called ‘an America built to last.’”
The funding is the state’s share of more than $470 million in unspent highway earmarks from the federal fiscal year 2003-2006 appropriations acts, which contain provisions authorizing LaHood to make unused funds available for any eligible highway, transit, passenger rail or port project.
The Obama administration set an Oct. 1 deadline for the state DOT to identify the 20 infrastructure projects it plans to use the funds for. The agency must allocate the funds by Dec. 31, and any unobligated funds will be redistributed in fiscal year 2013 to states that met the deadline.
An agency spokesperson did not immediately return a request for information about how the state will use the funds.