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Unformatted text preview: the latest effort by House conservatives to slow down or
eliminate funding for mass transit, freight rail and high-speed rail projects, which they see as a waste of money on
“trains to nowhere.” Last February, the initial House reauthorization of the surface transportation trust fund, which
allocates the gasoline tax, eliminated the 20 percent set-aside for rail projects that was established by President
Ronald Reagan in 1982. Only a revolt by Republican legislators from the suburbs outside New York City,
Philadelphia and Chicago forced House Transportation Committee chairman John Mica, R-Fla., to withdraw the bill.
Now, with a June 30th deadline looming, the summer road construction season could grind to a halt if Congress
doesn’t at least extend the current law. A conference committee led by Mica and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Cal., must wrestle with a set of
extraneous provisions attached to the two-year, $109 billion extension pushed by the House. They range from approving the Keystone oil pipeline
from Canada to giving utilities more flexibility in how they dump coal ash.) US Funding blocked now – needs a federal commitment
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