Editor’s Note: The Georgia Dept. of Transportation contacted WABE Monday, Nov. 6, and said some of the information provided for this news story is not correct. G-DOT officials say it is true that the $4.3M had to be returned to the federal government, but the agency was not correct in its naming of the municipal planning organizations that failed to spend the funds. Those municipalities have been removed from this report. A spokesperson says G-DOT’s finance department is now working to determine the correct information.
Georgia’s Department of Transportation recently gave back $4.3 million dollars in federal funding meant for transportation projects.
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Projects like converting rail road corridors, building scenic viewing areas, creating trails for bikes, or making safe routes near schools are eligible to be completed with the funding.
The state got $155.3 million during fiscal year 2013 which it gave to regional planning commissions.
The planning commissions gave it to local governments that had to spend or assign it by Sept. 30.
“So it’s there responsibility to ultimately deliver and utilize that funding but it’s our responsibility to help guide them through that process,” said Andrew Heath, a traffic engineer with GDOT.
Heath said the money gets rescinded under certain circumstances.
“The balance grows based on projects not being delivered or delayed or ideas still being formulated or flowing through the process,” Heath said.
When the government sees the balance growing, it realizes it isn’t being used, and takes the money back.
Heath says having to give back the money will not affect future requests for funds.