U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be in Idaho Wednesday,
days after the Obama administration announced plans to send unspent transportation dollars to states.
As The Associated Press reported Friday, $470 million will be made available to states for infrastructure projects as long as states “promise to use the money to create jobs and improve transportation.”
The AP reports it’s an effort by the Obama administration to sidestep Congress.
“The money initially was allocated to the Transportation Department for special projects known as earmarks from 2003 to 2006. The Republican-controlled House has since banned earmarks, which are provisions tucked into spending bills for lawmakers’ pet projects.” – AP
In other words, some of the money allocated from 2003 to 2006 was never distributed to states. Idaho now will receive $2.7 million.
According to Jeff Stratten at the Idaho Transportation Department, the two projects initially ‘earmarked’ by Congress were in Pocatello and Twin Falls.
The Department has until October 1 to decide how to reallocate the $2.7 million.
On Wednesday, Secretary Ray LaHood will visit Boise-based MotivePower with Mayor Dave Bieter. LaHood will also make a stop in Lewiston to present a federal TIGER award to the Port of Lewiston. He’ll be joined by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.
The TIGER award is a separate $1.3 million grant to help the Port of Lewiston expand its capacity.