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Transport Fix to Jobs Bill Would Take $192M From CA, Send $76M to TX

7:52 AM PDT on March 19, 2010

oberstar.jpgHouse
transport panel chairman Jim Oberstar's (D-MN) state would lose an
estimated $9.5 million under the fix. (Photo: Jonathan Maus)

Fixing a disputed
provision
in the jobs bill that President Obama signed into law yesterday
-- as Senate Democratic leaders promised House transportation committee
chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) following complaints by several members of
his panel -- would involve the redistribution of $932 million in
funding for two major federal road and rail programs.

The end result of the transfers would leave California with $192
million less than it had in the Senate-passed version of the jobs
measure, while Texas would gain the most with an influx of more than $76
million, according to data released by Oberstar's committee earlier
this week.

The $932 million in grants became
an issue
last month after the jobs bill, which extends the 2005
transportation law
until 2011, cleared the Senate with language
that also extended 2009-level earmarks for the two programs, known as
Projects of Regional and National Significance (PRNS)
and the National Corridor Infrastructure Improvement (NCIIP).

That extension of previous earmarks would result in 58 percent of
the $932 million going to four states: Illinois, Louisiana, California,
and Washington. After lawmakers from other states raised alarms about
the distribution, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) vowed to
Oberstar [PDF]
that if the House would approve the jobs bill without changing the
provision, the Senate would move as quickly as possible on a fix.

"Although my
preference
would be to amend this [jobs bill] to reflect these compromises today,
any further delays in enacting a surface transportation extension are
unacceptable," Oberstar said two weeks ago, urging colleagues to take
the upper chamber at its word.

The House passed
legislation earlier this week that would redirect the $932 million to
all 50 states based on existing road-funding formulas. It is that shift
that would take PRNS and NCIIP money from California, Illinois ($119
million), Louisiana ($43 million), and Washington ($39 million), as well
as Oregon ($29 million) and Virginia ($12 million).

States that would
gain under the fix include Texas, Ohio ($25 million), Florida ($47
million), Georgia ($31 million), and New York ($16 million). It remains
unclear when the Senate will act on the change.

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