Garage misspending cuts traffic-improvement projects

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Memphis motorists will bear the burden for the misuse of federal highway money to fund a garage for the city's NBA arena.

Because of the city's failure to follow spending rules while building the garage, funding requests for two projects to improve traffic flow in Memphis will be delayed.

The city has had to cut its overall requests for federal highway money by $6.3 million. A parking garage at the new FedExForum, a $250 million sports and entertainment arena managed by the Grizzlies, was partially financed with federal money.

Authorities say those funds were supposed to be used for a not-for-profit bus facility, not a for-profit garage managed by a private company.

Federal and state law enforcement agencies are looking into the garage project.

City officials say the funding misuse was a mistake that did not involve criminal wrongdoing.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)