The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

June 30, 2010
$120 million in federal transit earmarks went unspent

Almost $120 million in federal funding approved by Congress for mass transportation projects has gone unspent. The money sat in Federal Transit Administration accounts for years, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a government transparency group which obtained and analyzed over 150 earmarks from 2006 and 2007 that have all lapsed.

The largest earmarks include $19.6 million for a light rail system North Carolina's triangle region, almost $10 million to help build a bus terminal-performing arts complex in Rochester, N.Y. and $4.9 million for a proposed commuter train between Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich. 

The Sunlight web site provides details of other transit "disappearmarks" in a handy searchable spreadsheet. There is one local item among the 23 California projects listed. That is $190,357 to "improve entrance to the [Davis, Calif.] Amtrak Depot and parking lot, provide additional parking and improve service." The Davis earmark was approved for fiscal year 2006. One wonders what became of the project.

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About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at: fraudsquad@sacbee.com.

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