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HIGHWAY PRODUCTIVITY DISCUSSED IN SENATE HEARING; NEED FOR NATIONAL HIGHWAY SYSTEM CITED

 WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Highway productivity in the United States has been growing, and the National Highway System authorized by Congress last year is essential to economic expansion, a leading private sector highway transportation authority told Congress today.
 Lester P. Lamm, president of the Highway Users Federation, testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that despite previous estimates of a transportation productivity growth rate as low as 0.2 percent per year, a Highway Users Federation analysis, later confirmed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, showed annual trucking productivity growth rates of 4 percent or higher for the 1985-89 period and bus carriers at 2.9 percent.
 Lamm also said the 155,000-mile National Highway System authorized by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) will be a major key to strong economic performance into the 21st century and should be the subject of early oversight hearings by the incoming Congress.
 The Senate hearings marked the first anniversary of the $155 billion, six-year ISTEA, which Lamm said had been underfunded since it was passed.
 The act authorized $18.7 billion for highway programs in fiscal year 1992, which ended Sept. 30, but Congress appropriated only $15.6 billion. For 1993, $20.4 billion was authorized, but about $18 billion was appropriated, with the highway obligation ceiling for regular state programs capped at $15.3 billion.
 "Forty-seven states have fewer (federal-aid highway) dollars now than in fiscal year 1992, and the balance of unused tax revenue in the Highway Trust Fund has grown to more than $21 billion," Lamm said.
 A final map of the National Highway System must be submitted to Congress within the next 12 months and Congress must approve the final system by 1995 or the funding will lapse.
 The Highway Users Federation is the nation's largest private sector highway transportation coalition.
 -0- 12/18/92
 /CONTACT: Jerry Bastarache of the Highway Users Federation, 202-857-1200/


CO: Highway Users Federation ST: District of Columbia IN: TRN SU:

DC -- DC028 -- 8389 12/18/92 16:35 EST
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Date:Dec 18, 1992
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