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* Paving contractors and their suppliers hoping that a new federal highway spending bill would be signed into law by President Bush were still waiting as of mid-June.

Trade groups representing contractors and aggregates suppliers have been urging member companies to contact their congressional representatives and senators to stress the importance of striking a compromise bill that can win congressional approval and not be vetoed by President Bush.

The Senate approved a $318 billion version of the six-year reauthorization of the transportation spending bill, known as TEA-LU, back in February. The House later approved a scaled-back $286 billion version of TEA-LU, while the White House has expressed support for a further scaled-back $256 billion version.

Thus far, the two chambers and representatives from the White House have been unable to reconcile the three versions into a mutually acceptable bill.

The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) sent a letter to President Bush signed by more than 200 of its member executives urging him to support the Senate's $318 billion, six-year transportation reauthorization bill. His administration has threatened to veto the bill because of its cost.

In its letter, signed by 211 corporate CEOs representing 307,000 workers, the NSSGA business leaders said the "appropriate level" of a six-year bill should be in the $375 billion range originally introduced in the Home Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Senate bill "represent[s] the mid-point between the federal share of the nation's documented needs and the current inadequate highway and transit funding levels."

While the Bush Administration has argued that keeping the bill's scope beneath $300 billion makes sense for fiscal policy reasons, groups like the NSSGA contend that a greater amount translates into more high-paying jobs for Americans.

"This letter clearly demonstrates to the president that there's across-the-board support from the people who create jobs ill America for a significantly higher level of funding for our vital transportation infrastructure systems," says NSSGA President and CEO Joy Wilson. U.S. Transportation Department statistics show that 47,500 jobs are created for every $1 billion of federal highway and transit spending.
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Title Annotation:Commodities
Publication:Construction & Demolition Recycling
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Previous Article:A fund that addresses the issues.
Next Article:Battle to the finish.

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