|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
March 25, 1998
Earlier today the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved H.R. 2400, the "Building Efficient Surface Transportation Equity Act of 1998" (BESTEA). The bill authorizes a total of $217 billion in federal funding over the next six years for surface transportation programs. The bill guarantees each state at least a 90 percent return on the federal gas taxes it sends to Washington. Traficant was able to secure federal funding for the following 11 projects:
Construction of S.R. 711 Connector ($25 million)
Construction of Kings Graves Rd. Interchange ($4.8 million)
Opening up of Federal Plaza in Youngstown ($2.08 million)
Construction of Intermodal Industrial Park in Wellsville ($2.04 million)
Jacobs Road Bridge Replacement in Youngstown ($2 million)
McCuffey Road Bridge Rehabilitation in Youngstown ($3.36 million)
Widening of Western Reserve Road ($5.6 million)
Construction of North Road Connector to S.R. 46 ($5.68 million)
Widening of North Road ($1.2 million)
Widening of U.S. Route 422 through Girard ($4.72 million)
Widening of S.R. 46 from Mahoning Ave. to Salt Springs Rd. ($3.52 million)
The $60 million in federal funds secured by Traficant will leverage
an additional $21 million in state and local spending. With the exception
of the Wellsville project, which has
a total cost of $8.9 million, Traficant was able to secure the full federal match for every project. By law, the federal government can only fund 80 percent of the total cost of a highway project. State and local governments must provide the remaining 20 percent. Last year, Traficant was told by officials from the Ohio Department of Transportation that ODOT will provide matching funds for any project that receives 80 percent federal funding.
As soon as the bill is signed into law, the $60 million for the Mahoning Valley projects will be transferred from the U.S. Department of Transportation to ODOT, which can only spend the funds on the 11 earmarked projects. Funds will be provided for the projects over the next six years.
In addition to the Mahoning Valley projects, BESTEA includes two amendments authored by Traficant. The first amendment applies federal motor carrier safety regulations to all interstate school bus operations. The second directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a study on ways to improve school bus safety.
The full House is expected to vote on BESTEA next week. Once the bill passes the House, a conference committee will be convened to iron out differences between the House-passed bill and the Senate-passed bill. A final version is expected to be approved by both houses and sent to the President by May. Federal surface transportation funding expires in May.
Traficant is confident that federal funding for the 11 Mahoning Valley projects will remain in the final version of the bill. Once the bill is signed into law, Traficant intends to work with ODOT and local officials to expedite work on the projects.2009