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Updated: Virginia failed to spend millions in federal transportation money, group says

Anita Kumar

Nearly $3 million in Federal Transit Administration earmarks approved by Congress for nine projects in Virginia was never spent and the money is no longer available, according to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group.

The money, part of about $120 million in lapsed earmarks nationwide, was supposed to be used by Sept. 30, 2009 during Democrat Tim Kaine's term as governor.

The group indicates a variety of reasons that the money went unspent, including opposition at the local level and a lack of other funding.

Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said he and Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton could not comment on why the money was not spent and referred calls to individual localities.

The nine projects include a bus garage replacement in Alexandria and a VRE extension in Gainesville as well as two projects in Bealeton in Fauquier County and three in Roanoke. We have reached out to the city of Alexandria and U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and will let you know when we hear back.

Update, 11:25 a.m. Alexandria Legislative Director Bernie Caton said the funding for the Metro bus garage replacement in Old Town expired while the Metro board was trying to pick a location for the garage.

Late last year, Kaine came under fire from members of his own party for being slow in spending the state's share of federal stimulus money for transportation.

Virginia was not only the last state to submit a list of shovel-ready projects to the federal government, it was the last state last to spend the money.

The unused earmarks -- $119.2 million from over 150 earmarks Congress approved in 2006 and 2007 to buy buses, build light rail and fund transit projects -- will be spent on other projects in the coming months.

By Anita Kumar  |  June 23, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine , Transportation  
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