Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

July 15, 2014

House passes highway bill as deadline looms

WASHINGTON — The House has passed a bill that would temporarily patch over a multibillion-dollar pothole in federal highway and transit programs.

The vote was 367 to 55. A similar bill is pending in the Senate.

The bill cobbles together $10.8 billion by using pension tax changes, customs fees and money from a fund to repair leaking underground fuel storage tanks to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund, which pays for transportation programs nationwide, solvent through May 2015. A similar bill is pending in the Senate.

Without congressional action, the fund will no longer have enough money to cover promised aid to states by the first week in August.

“This is about far more than accounting, dollar signs, and trust funds," U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., he top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said. "It’s about the men and women who work in these industries and have to face needless uncertainty about their futures.  It’s about those that rely on public transit systems.  And it’s about the driving public who must endure aging infrastructure and the car repair bills and safety concerns that come with it.  I voted for this bill not because it’s the best solution, but because it averts an immediate crisis and keeps the ball rolling.”

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