“Orphaned Transportation Earmarks” Part II



Tags: earmarks, transportation, unspent, moneys, article, highway, states, congress, projects, federal

I first reported on the “orphaned transportation earmarks” (read unspent moneys) here base on a USA Today article  The bottom line from the research by Cezary Podkul and Gregory Kort is that $13 billion in highway earmarks — about 1 in 3 dollars earmarked since 1991 — remains unspent. 
  
Since that report, USA Today followed up with another article yesterday.

Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) introduced two bills last week. The first is the “Redistribution of Unspent Earmarks Act” and the second is “Use It or Lose It Act.”  Together, these two bills would mandate that earmarks older than three years be returned to the states to use on any eligible highway project.

Right after the initial article appeared, Senator Claire McCaskell (D-Missouri) wrote to US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and asked him to help free up the old money.  However, it is only Congress who can fix this problem not the administration on their own.

So what to do?  Remember first, these earmarks are designated projects utilizing moneys from the highway trust fund (HTF)  These moneys are usually taken “off the top” of a state’s allocation of  federal funds. Then, remember the HTF comes from user fees, such as the gas tax which you and I pay at the pump.  Thus, these funds should be kept in the HTF and not used to balance the federal budget elsewhere.  The best solution would be to return the money to the states where the earmark was made and permit the state to use the money in the usual federal programs as it sees fit.

As Ron Utt from Heritage noted recently, “Importantly—and something generally ignored or misunderstood by both the public and Members of Congress—transportation earmarks provide no additional money to any state or to transportation spending in general. Rather, most transportation earmarks are carved out of each state’s formula allocation so that each dollar devoted to an earmark means one dollar less that is available to the state’s own priority projects.”  This is similar to my comments which stated “It is not New Money” 


This “orphaned earmark” story is not over yet; however we have seen a much needed light shown on the amount of money which could be available for needed transportation projects in the states. Hopefully, Congress finds the right “fix”. 

Not yet rated. Be the first:

<< Previous Article      Next Article >>


Comment

Name:

Ines said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

It is rather rilouudics to blame Mr. Gingrich for us not being energy independent. In this age of global integration, while a few countries are energy independent, no country is economically independent. The so-called energy crisis is not as bad in every part of the country and it is not the first time there as been a crisis. This too shall pass, but yes, not without pain. If the energy crisis was so bad, we would see less cars on the road and more people using buses and carpools. What do you want Mr. Gingrich to do, hold a gun to everybody's head and demand that they take public transportation?Let's put things in perspective, no, Mr. Gingrich is not perfect, but 1998 was not a disaster, we only lost a few seats and we actually gained a little in the popular vote. Making things worse than they appear will not solve the challenges that we do have.By the way, if we want the price to fall, deregulation is what is needed. It worked for natural gas in Ohio. I have also seen in Ohio that if prices are too low we have gas shortages. be careful when you scream for low prices just for the sake of it. This is not a free market solution. The solution is to keep taxes and regulation low.OHIO JOE

11/6/2012 2:57:12 PM 

buy viagra online said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

ywuJX1 I loved your article.Really thank you! Will read on...

12/23/2012 11:32:12 PM 

buy cialis said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

m2BWtu Major thankies for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

2/23/2013 1:17:56 PM 

generic clomid said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

I cannot thank you enough for the blog post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

2/25/2013 7:15:47 AM 

buy discount viagra online said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

brxztG Thank you ever so for you blog article.Thanks Again. Awesome.

3/2/2013 7:44:15 PM 

bookmarks said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

3T3xRm A round of applause for your article post.Much thanks again. Will read on...

3/13/2013 11:12:35 AM 

ciprofloxacin side effects said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Thank you ever so for you post. Want more.

3/15/2013 9:40:30 AM 

generic viagra said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Really appreciate you sharing this article.Really thank you! Great.

3/15/2013 11:18:58 AM 

generic cialis no prescription said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

I loved your article post.Thanks Again. Will read on...

3/15/2013 12:57:57 PM 

no prescription said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

I appreciate you sharing this blog post.Thanks Again. Great.

3/15/2013 2:37:18 PM