House "overwhelmingly" passes $275 billion bill

News April 02, 2004
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Despite a veto threat from the White House, the U

Despite a veto threat from the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the surface transportation reauthorization legislation--the Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (TEA-LU)--which would fund the nation's highway and transit systems at $275 billion over the next six years. The industry called the overwhelming vote (357-65) a positive move towards record highway and transit funding.

"Today's vote sends a positive message to the millions of Americans who ride American's highway and transit system," said Stephen Sandherr, the Associated General Contractors of America's CEO. "The strong bipartisan support from every region of the country for this legislation is made even more significant because it comes in the face of a threatened presidential veto."

Diane Steed, president of the American Highway Users Alliance, was happy progress was being made on the bill but encouraged leaders on Capitol Hill to submit the Senate's $318 billion version.

"The U.S. has an overwhelming backlog of roads and bridges in need of repair," she said. "America must invest in upgrading our critical transportation infrastructure if we hope to improve safety, reduce congestion and continue our economic growth in a competitive global marketplace."

An amendment included in the Transportation Equity Act could end a lengthy battle on Beacon Hill over the name of the new I-93 tunnel in Boston. The measure, which was part of the $275 billion funding bill, would name the tunnel the "Thomas P. 'Tip' O'Neill Jr. Tunnel" after the late Democratic U.S. House Speaker.

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