Education about Law, Codes and Time

I’m putting out an episode next week about the transportation stimulus. In preparation, I looked up the text of the stimulus1 in order to determine how much of the $26.725 billion will be ending up in Georgia:

…50 percent of the funds made available under this heading [$26.725 Billion: ed] shall be apportioned to States using the formula set forth in section 104(b)(3) of title 23, United States Code, and the remaining funds shall be apportioned to States in the same ratio as the obligation limitation for fiscal year 2008 was distributed among the States in accordance with the formula specified in section 120(a)(6) of division K of Public Law 110-161:…

The formula in USC 23 Section 104(b)(3) is relatively easy to find and understand. I’ve seen it before. It talks about how the money for each fiscal year’s highway trust fund investment is broken out between the states and it boils down to how many lane miles of interstate and state highways each state has compared to all the other states.

Unfortunately, that second bit, about Division K of Public Law 110-161: section 120(a)(6)? Well…let me just quote it for you:

(4)(A) distribute the obligation limitation for Federal-aid highways, less the aggregate amounts not distributed under paragraphs (1) and (2), for sections 1301, 1302, and 1934 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users; sections 117 (but individually for each project numbered 1 through 3676 listed in the table contained in section 1702 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users) and 144(g) of title 23, United States Code; and section 14501 of title 40, United States Code, so that the amount of obligation authority available for each of such sections is equal to the amount determined by multiplying the ratio determined under paragraph (3) by the sums authorized to be appropriated for that section for the fiscal year; and…

I have a life that does not involve spending the umpteen hours needed to decipher this, run down all the references, do the math, and then probably still get it wrong. So I cheated. I looked up the fiscal 2008 apportionment to Georgia2 and just assumed that it would be the same percentage, or close. This came out to approximately $998 million, which is close to the round $1B. That’s what I’m working with right now, until the newspaper tells me different.


1: Do a search on “Highway Infrastructure Investment” at http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h1/text?version=enr&nid=t0:enr:31 to find the related text. It’s an education in patience.
2: If you go to the link, look at the bottom under table 7 for your state’s fiscal 2009 apportionment. Tables 3, 4, 5 and 6 will tell you how much money your state is losing because of failure to comply with federal regulations.

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