Senators bash FY 2004 plan

News AASHTO Journal March 10, 2003
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Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters met with strong opposition to the administration's FY 2004 highway budget request at

Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters met with strong opposition to the administration's FY 2004 highway budget request at a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.


Peters outlined the administration's budget plan, which calls for a highway obligation ceiling of $29.3 billion in FY 2004, including a $1 billion initiative for ready-to-go projects that can be obligated within six months time. The administration also has proposed $200 million in emergency relief funding, $639 million in minimum guarantee funds and $100 million for the continuation of priority projects, for a total highway program level of $30.2 billion.


Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) expressed his disappointment in the administration's budget request and told Peters that there was no support in the Committee for a cut to $29.3 billion in FY 2004, a decrease of $2.5 billion from FY 2003. Bond said a letter to that effect has drawn the support of 64 Senators after two days.


Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.), ranking minority of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, supported Bond's statement and discussed the negative implication of tax cuts on infrastructure development.


"We need a highway funding level that will improve safety, congestion and economic growth," said Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.).



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