When a member of Congress earmarks transportation money for a local project, the funding isn’t always spent in a timely manner. The Bush administration’s final budget proposed to cancel road earmarks that had sat largely unspent for 10 years, a move that would have freed up $626 million, according to Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI).
A longtime critic of congressional earmarking, Feingold has proposed legislation that would take back earmarked money at all federal agencies that remained unobligated after a decade. During a Wednesday Senate Budget Committee hearing, Feingold asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood if the Obama administration would support the portion of his plan that affects infrastructure.
LaHood gave a hearty affirmative (viewable in the above video), telling Feingold that the U.S. DOT had begun identifying earmarks that were ripe for cancellation due to lack of use.