SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — California is getting $43 million in unspent highway earmarks from the federal government, according to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

On Friday, LaHood announced the U.S. Department of Transportation would release a total of $473 million to states to create construction jobs.

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The money was earmarked for state transportation projects over the past 10 years, but was never spent. This either happened because projects never got underway or they were finished without the need for the money.

KCBS’ Susan Kennedy Reports:

“In an era when unemployment in the construction and building trades is much higher than many other industries, we need to get the money out the door,” LaHood said.

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Some of the California money was from unspent earmarks on projects such as the Highway 4 widening in Brentwood, to school pedestrian safety projects in Alameda County.

Governor Jerry Brown will have to decide by October 1st if the money should be spent on the earmarked projects or on another shovel ready project ranging from highway, transit, to rail or ports. The funds must be obligated by the end of the year.

Calls to the Governor’s office and Caltrans on how the funds will be used were not returned as of Friday afternoon.

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