The Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) has laid out plans for redistributing to states about $2 billion—and potentially more—that had been set aside more than a decade ago for highway and bridge projects but is still unspent.
The 2016 omnibus appropriations bill, enacted on Dec. 18, mandated the funding shift for the so-called orphan earmarks and said the money had to be parceled out to states by Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
FHwA’s long-awaited announcement, released on March 8, is another piece of positive news for state highway agencies as well as road and bridge engineers and contractors.
It follows the Dec. 4 signing of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation, or FAST Act, which provided a boost of about $2 billion, or 5%, for highway and bridge funding in fiscal year 2016.
The earmark funding “is really a shot in the arm for the construction industry, for the 2016 construction season,” says Jay Hansen, National Asphalt Pavement Association executive vice president. “On top of the FAST Act, this is icing on the cake.”
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