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AAA OBJECTS TO CLINTON PLAN TO DIVERT TRUST FUND; CALLS FOR SPINOFF OF FHWA

 WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Automobile Association today strongly objected to the Clinton administration's plan to divert billions annually from the Highway Trust Fund. AAA also called for the Department of Transportation to spin off the Federal Highway Adminiistration as an independent agency.
 In a letter to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), chairman-elect of the House Appropriations Committee's transportation subcommittee, the 36 million-member AAA said the plans for Department of Transportation restructuring divert needed Highway Trust Fund monies to other surface transportation modes.
 "While there is wisdom in making changes in the government to meet changing needs, it doesn't make sense to dismantle America's investment in its roads and bridges represented by the Interstate Highway System," said Darryl L. Wyland, AAA's senior vice president, public and government relations.
 "Transportation Secretary Federico Pena has repeatedly stated that `the National Highway System is the backbone of the nation's transportation system.' Yet the DOT restructuring plan, which they would incorporate into FY '96 appropriations, diverts needed highway funds.
 "Instead of recommending transportation improvements, the administration has chosen to partially fund a middle-class tax cut with highway and aviation trust fund revenues. In addition, gas taxes will be diverted to Amtrak, mass transit and anything else that moves on the ground and cannot pay for itself," Wyland said.
 "Billions have been paid in good faith by American motorists for many years. We are not doing right by people who have been promised that the gas taxes they pay would be used to repair roads and fix bridges that are falling down," Wyland said.
 AAA further called for the Department of Transportation to give the FHWA independent agency status, similar to what has been proposed for the DOT's Federal Aviation Administration.
 "The FHWA is funded entirely by the Highway Trust Fund," Wyland said. "It makes perfectly good sense to move FHWA's staff off the government payroll just as the DOT has proposed for FAA."
 With more than 33 million members, the American Automobile Association is one of the largest motoring and travel organizations in the world. AAA's more than 1,000 affiliated club and branch offices are located throughout the United States and Canada. AAA, a fully tax-paying not-for-profit organization, offers a wide range of member services and works for the improvement of motoring and traveling conditions.
 -0- 12/22/94
 /CONTACT: Bill Jackman, 202-942-2082, or Jerry Cheske, 407-444-8000, both of the American Automobile Association/


CO: American Automobile Association; U.S. Department of Transportation ST: District of Columbia IN: AUT TRN SU: EXE

AM-IH -- DC011 -- 7570 12/22/94 11:08 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 22, 1994
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