Mount Vernon Trail | Photo by Milo Allerton

Earmarks are a longstanding tool used by Congress. Earmarks direct funds to community-supported local priority projects requested by individual lawmakers, without needing to go through a statutory or administrative formula-driven competitive process.

Quick Facts:

  • Administered By: The United States Congress
  • Type: Directed federal spending funds
  • Year Created: Part of the federal budget since 1789
  • Also Known As: Member Designated Projects (House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee); Community Directed Spending (House and Senate Appropriations Committees) 


Your members of Congress will call for the submission of project requests through their websites. Building and maintaining a relationship with your officials and expressing your project’s importance can assist in gaining their support in submitting your project to Congress when these opportunities arise.

Check out our Guide on How to Access Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Congressionally Directed and Community Project Funding Requests, also known as Earmarks.

RTC has resources to help you learn more about earmarks and how they can help obtain federal funding for your trail and active transportation projects.