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Vermont transportation needs clears house

Rep. Peter Welch (D) supported and the House passed H.R. 6532, the Highway Trust Fund Restoration Act, to address a projected shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund and restore more than $8 billion in federal funding for states. The bill, which has cleared the Senate and will now be sent to the President for his signature, restores over $47 million in federal transportation funding for Vermonts roads and bridges. Our roads and bridges in Vermont and across the country are falling into disrepair. It is simply unacceptable to continue to neglect the up-keep and safety of our transportation system, said Welch. The federal government needs to be a partner in supporting states in meeting our pressing infrastructure needs. At times, both the Democrats and Republicans have been blamed for the states aging highway and bridge infrastructure. In FY2008, federal Trust Fund spending for Vermont is $161,725,931. Without action by Congress, the Federal Highway Administration estimates that Vermonts funding will be cut to $114,413,876 for FY2009. The legislation prevents this $47,312,055 cut to Vermont transportation projects. In 1998, in response to concerns that the Highway Accounts $16.5 billion balance was too large, Congress transferred more than $8 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund. In the face of major Highway Trust Fund shortfalls in 2009 and beyond, H.R. 6532 restores $8.017 billion in highway-user taxes to the Highway Trust Fund that were originally transferred in 1998.

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