- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) - Illinois transportation planners are awaiting details of how they could use a potential multi-million windfall for the state.

A spending bill approved by Congress in late 2015 contains a clause allowing unused transportation earmarks to be dispensed to states for related work. The earmarks must be more than 10 years old and less than 10 percent of the total must have been spent or obligated.

The total amount of cash available could be nearly $2.2 billion, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation data. Illinois could receive $84.7 million, which could boost the state’s minimalist road work plans amid the ongoing financial crisis, the Daily Herald (http://bit.ly/1QwIc6O ) reported.

“We are actively working on this issue and evaluating the law to determine the amount of funding that will be available to Illinois,” Illinois Department of Transportation spokeswoman Gianna Urgo said. “We also are awaiting guidance from the federal government on how those funds can be used going forward.”

Restrictions will be placed on how and where states can spend the money, said Jim Tymon, chief operating officer of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Work must be done within 50 miles of the original earmark and fall under federal highway program perimeters. In addition to roads and bridges, projects involving bikes, pedestrians and transit systems also could qualify for funding.

Details should be finalized this month, according to Federal Highway Administration officials.

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Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com

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