Last week’s news that the federal Department of Transportation has about $473 million in turned-back earmarks money means about $1.8 million for Washington state projects and another $3 million for local projects in the Evergreen State. No projects are in the Olympia area but freight mobility work in the FAST Corridor serving the Tacoma-Seattle-Everett area is on the list of previously earmarked jobs that could get extra money.
And the money announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is separate from two other Washington projects that the Obama administration said today it wants to speed up – a Point Defiance rail-bypass project valued at $89 million in Tacoma and a $3.5 billion bridge replacement over the Columbia River along Interstate 5.
Connie Rus, a spokeswoman for the Washington state DOT, said the exact use of the turned-back earmarks money is still being worked out.
About 19 state projects already on the earmarks list from that time period could be eligible for extra money, according to Rus. That list includes an access road project in Grays Harbor County at Satsop, which has an industrial park, and other projects in Bellingham and the Tri-Cities.
Most are local or partnership projects although two are state only – one in Pend Oreille dealing with State Route 31 and one involving State Routes 509/518 in Burien.
The extra funds were not part of the federal stimulus, which is a much larger allocation that this money allocated to specific projects by Congress. McClatchy Newspapers’ Washington, D.C., bureau reports that the government has paid out $36 billion in highway projects since 2009 under the stimulus which had authorized nearly $48 billion for road and bridge projects.
In an email response to a reporter’s questions, Rus said the state agency is going through the numbers and trying to determine later this week where the extra cash would go:
So once again, stay tuned.