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president. The effort to cage the TIGER grants is only 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...
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