The House has overwhelmingly approved a five-year, $305 billion transportation bill that boosts highway and transit spending. The measure assures states that federal aid will be available as they plan major projects. Congressman Rodney Davis touts the $7.5 billion dollars for Illinois and the $668 million increase for the state over the life of the bill. He's also pleased with efficiency measures in the legislation.
Davis says he didn't get everything he wanted in the house version of the five year transportation funding bill. But, the Republican who represents part of Bloomington Normal says he is pleased with the nearly 3 billion in transit funding over the life of the bill.
The bill doesn't resolve how to pay for transportation programs in the long term. The measure does not include as much money or last as long as many lawmakers and the Obama administration would have liked. Still, it's praised by industry and public officials as a major accomplishment for ending the last-minute, short-term extensions that have kept the federal Highway Trust Fund on the edge of insolvency for much of the past eight years.
Davis says he was a little surprised to find a federal crop insurance measure in the massive Transportation Funding Bill. Speaking to reporters in the a conference call, Davis said the provision is a fix for something he believes went wrong in the recent budget measure...a three billion dollar Obama administration cut to the crop insurance program.
Davis says the revision was supported by members of the Ag committee and both parties.
Senate action is expected to follow the House approval soon.