At least seven U.S. House members from North Carolina are among the lawmakers seeking more than $278 million for transportation projects in their districts. According to the House Transportation Committee website, the 50 projects range in size from a request of $180,000 from Rep. Madison Cawthorn for a North Carolina Department of Transportation project in Maggie Valley (Cawthorn has submitted seven additional requests totaling nearly $21.6 million) to a pair of $20 million requests from Rep. Kathy Manning for major highway construction projects in Winston-Salem.
Several members — including Representatives Adams, Butterfield, Manning, Price and Ross — have submitted funding requests to support transit options like electric buses and greenways. Rep, Ross is seeking $9 million to construct an ADA Paratransit Facility in Raleigh. Rep. David Rouzer is requesting $3.84 million for r a highway exchange on Military Cutoff Road in Wilmington.
These requests come as infrastructure takes on a new significance in the U.S., following an expansive proposal by President Joe Biden for $2.3 trillion in spending that could help states pay for building and repairing scores of aging and failing highways, bridges and transit systems.
The White House continues negotiations with congressional Republicans, and it’s not yet clear how much money will be available to dole out or how. But lawmakers have also been presented with the opportunity to earmark transportation funds for the first time in a decade.
For example, U.S. Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana is seeking $1 billion through Congress’ revamped earmarks process. The Louisiana Republican says Baton Rouge desperately needs a new bridge to alleviate a crush of roadway congestion — at a cost of $955.2 million for several projects. That far exceeds the $20 million that House lawmakers have been told could flow back to each district if a new surface transportation bill is signed into law.
Graves said in an interview with States Newsroom that his mammoth request wasn’t “a naive error.” Instead, it was an intentional effort to emphasize the price tag of such a project.
“Do I have any illusions that we will have a billion-dollar earmark? No,” he said. “But this is a bridge, and I wanted to be transparent about this and what it costs.”
The “ask for it all” strategy from Graves is one of several by House members vying for funding in the resurrected earmarks process on Capitol Hill.
Earmarks — or money designated for specific projects in congressional spending bills — were banished by Republicans when they took control of the House in 2011 following intense public criticism of corruption and a lack of fairness. The process of inserting local projects was used to flip hesitant legislators to “yes” votes on tough bills, but it resulted in a lopsided allocation of dollars to only some districts.
One of the most famous infrastructure earmarks, derided as a national embarrassment, was the $223 million “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska, which was supposed to connect a small city with its airport on a nearby island. The proposal was finally killed a decade after its inception.
In bringing back that process this year, congressional Democrats have new guidelines intended to make earmarks more fair and more visible.
The projects, which House lawmakers have submitted for both the annual appropriations bills and the upcoming surface transportation authorization measure, must be posted on each lawmaker’s website with documentation and a letter attesting that the member has no financial stake in the project.
The last time that the five-year transportation authorization bill included earmarks was in 2006, when it included 5,091 projects at a cost of $14.8 billion.
|Alma Adams||NC-12||Roadway Connectivity and Network Improvements||Charlotte||City of Charlotte||4,700,000|
|NC-12||Brooklyn Village Multimodal Trail||Charlotte||City of Charlotte||6,700,000|
|NC-12||CATS Battery Electric Bus Fleet Transition||Charlotte||Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS)||8,000,000|
|NC-12||Festival Street||Cornelius||Town of Cornelius, NC||2,250,000|
|NC-12||Regional Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Plan and Implementation, Centralina Regional Council, NC||Charlotte||Centralina Regional Council||2,675,000|
|NC-12||Roadway Capacity Improvements||Charlotte||City of Charlotte||2,500,000|
|NC-12||Streetlighting on High Injury Network||Charlotte||City of Charlotte||8,000,000|
|NC-12||University City Shared Use Path||Charlotte||City of Charlotte||17,100,000|
|G. K. Butterfield||NC-01||Downtown Pedestrian Bridge||Rocky Mount||City of Rocky Mount||4,000,000|
|NC-01||Fork Swamp Canal Greenway||Winterville||Greenville Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (GUAMPO)||2,316,000|
|NC-01||Greenville Bridge Repair and Replacement||Greenville||Greenville Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (GUAMPO)||2,851,200|
|NC-01||Lane Widening on U.S. Route 158||Murfreesboro||Hertford County||16,200,000|
|NC-01||Monk-to-Mill Trail||Rocky Mount||City of Rocky Mount||12,000,000|
|NC-01||Pender Street Pedestrian Improvement, Infrastructure Repair, and Resurfacing||Wilson||City of Wilson - Public Works||12,500,000|
|NC-01||RIDE- Rural Microtransit||Wilson||City of Wilson - Wilson Transit||2,000,000|
|NC-01||South Tar River Greenway||Greenville||Greenville Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (GUAMPO)||1,775,000|
|Madison Cawthorn||NC-11||Corridor K: Improvement to sections of Corridor K in Graham County||Robbinsville||NCDOT||3,851,000|
|NC-11||EB-5753 Baldwin Avenue Sidewalk Project||Marion||NCDOT||350,000|
|NC-11||Jonathan Creek Safety Project||Maggie Valley||NCDOT||180,000|
|NC-11||US 19/129 Road Improvements||Murphy||NCDOT||3,851,000|
|NC-11||B-5871 Replace Bridge no. 628 Over Lake Lure 5250. Dam and Broad River||Lake Lure||NCDOT||8,000,000|
|NC-11||N. Fork Coweeta Creek Bridge Replacement||Otta||NCDOT||452,000|
|NC-11||US 74/NC 108 Interchange||Columbus||NCDOT||1,640,000|
|NC-11||Hanging Dog Bridge||Murphy||NCDOT||1,676,000|
|Kathy Manning||NC-06||Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway, Phase 2||Greensboro||City of Greensboro||6,400,000|
|NC-06||Electric buses and charging infrastructure, City of Greensboro||Greensboro||City of Greensboro||2,759,000|
|NC-06||High Point Heritage Greenway - Phase 1||High Point||City of High Point||4,000,000|
|NC-06||I-5880 (interchange construction on I-40/US 311)||Winston-Salem||North Carolina Department of Transportation||11,200,000|
|NC-06||J. Douglas Galyon Depot Restoration - Phase 3||Greensboro||City of Greensboro||2,553,024|
|NC-06||Silas Creek Parkway Sidewalk||Winston-Salem||Winston-Salem||4,533,600|
|NC-06||U-2579AA (interstate highway construction along Winston Salem Northern Beltway, eastern section), Winston Salem, NC||Winston-Salem||North Carolina Department of Transportation||20,000,000|
|NC-06||U-2579AB (interstate highway construction along I-40/US-421), Winston Salem, NC||Winston-Salem||North Carolina Department of Transportation||20,000,000|
|NC-06||U-5754 (ramp and lane construction on US 29/US 70/US 220)||Greensboro||North Carolina Department of Transportation||2,920,000|
|NC-06||U-5896 (ramp and lane construction on US-29/US-70/US-220)||High Point||North Carolina Department of Transportation||19,695,200|
|David Price||NC-04||Airport Roadway Improvements||Louisburg||Franklin County||4,000,000|
|NC-04||Bryant Bridge North/Goose Creek West Trail||Durham||City of Durham/NCDOT||2,320,000|
|NC-04||Bus Replacement Funding for Triangle Transit Systems||Chapel Hill||Town of Chapel Hill/Chapel Hill Transit||8,000,000|
|NC-04||Duke Beltline Trail||Durham||City of Durham/NCDOT||4,000,000|
|NC-04||Third Fork Creek Trail||Durham||City of Durham, NC||2,000,000|
|NC-04||Transit Bus Stop Improvements||Chapel Hill||Town of Chapel Hill/Chapel Hill Transit||1,000,000|
|Deborah Ross||NC-02||Airport Boulevard Sidewalk||Morrisville||NCDOT||208,000|
|NC-02||Apex Peakway Southwest Connector||Apex||Town of Apex||7,500,000|
|NC-02||Avent Ferry Road Realignment||Holly Springs||NCDOT||1,000,000|
|NC-02||Black Creek Greenway||Cary||NCDOT||4,984,800|
|NC-02||Fuquay-Varina Townwide ITS/Signal System||Fuquay-Varina||NCDOT||2,560,000|
|NC-02||GoRaleigh/GoWake Coordinated ADA Paratransit Facility||Raleigh||GoRaleigh Transit System||9,000,000|
|NC-02||Raleigh Citywide Signal System Upgrade||Raleigh||City of Raleigh||4,000,000|
|NC-02||Wake County Transit Access and Safety Improvements||Wake County||Research Triangle Regional Transportation Authority d/b/a GoTriangle||4,000,000|
|David Rouzer||NC-07||MILITARY CUTOFF ROAD (US 17)/EASTWOOD ROAD (US 74) INTERCHANGE (DRYSDALE DRIVE EXTENSION) (U-5710A)||Wilmington||Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization||3,840,000|