The NCSL Blog


By Ben Husch

While a more common phrase in the fashion, design or music industry, the U.S. Department Transportation (DOT) decided to get in on the act when, on March 8, it released guidance for states on how to repurpose nearly $2 billion in previously appropriated earmark funds.

Dollar bill floating over roadSpecifically, DOT announced that states are now able to repurpose certain unused earmark funds toward new projects. Funding may be repurposed if both the original earmark is more than 10 years old and less than 10 percent of project funds have been obligated.

Also, the projects receiving the repurposed funding must be within 50 miles of the original earmark description. Should a state choose to repurpose any eligible funding, it would have until the end of FY 2019 (Sept 30, 2019) to commit the funds.

To help states identify the amount of funding that may be available to them, DOT was able to compile a list of earmarks with unobligated funds, although DOT did note that the list may not include the universe of earmarks that are eligible. Additionally, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials prepared a separate list that reflects the minimum amount of money each state and territory can draw on in repurposed earmarks.

This announcement from DOT follows a previous release in late February where it released new federal surface transportation funding to help modernize and upgrade infrastructure that is critical to the movement of freight. Stay tuned to NCSL for further updates from DOT on surface transportation funding for states.

Ben Husch is the director of NCSL's Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.