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TEA-21 Legislation Extended

Press Secretary Scott McClellan

WASHINGTON, D.C.– An extension of the TEA-21 legislation went into effect April 30, 2004, after President Bush approved the 60-day extension on Sunday, February 29, 2004. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, working with advocacy partners and supporters, was successful in incorporating language into the extension that ensures state departments of transportation cannot transfer transportation enhancements funding into other programs during this time.

The deadline for the president's signature was midnight on February 29. President Bush's eleventh-hour decision came after the House of Representatives approved the measure Thursday, February 26, 2004, and the Senate responded with their approval Friday, February 27, 2004.

Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO)

Both houses will continue to debate the full six-year reauthorization bill. The House bill, "TEA-LU," calls for $375 billion in funding over six years and the Senate-passed bill (S. 1072) is set at $318 billion. The Bush Administration has called for $256 billion.

"This bill is the most important economic development and job-creating bill in this session of Congress. Today's vote is a victory for jobs and safety," said Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), who as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee is jointly responsible for the bill's re-authorization. "This bill will put a lot of hardworking Americans back to work and it will save lives. Americans overwhelmingly support increased investment in our roads and bridges. I hope my colleagues in the House listen to the American people and act quickly. It is time to sign a highway bill into law."

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

Another co-sponsor of the bill, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), hopes things move swiftly.

"We have worked hard to make this bill fair to every state," he said. "Now I hope the president can sign this as soon as possible. We can't afford to wait any longer for two million jobs, better roads or healthier air."

Bush's press secretary Scott McClellan said the president will likely veto the bill because of the $375 billion in funding over six years.

"It's very important to point out that the proposal the president put forward for $256 billion over the next six years is a 21 percent increase over the previous six years," he said. "It's a responsible funding proposal for our important highway and transportation needs. But we need to continue to work to cut the deficit in half over the next five years. And it's important that we show spending restraint. And so the president, if that legislation that passed the Senate comes to his desk, will veto it."

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December 7, 2019, 3:41 am PDT

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