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Politics
Senate approves $295B transportation measure


The Senate voted 76-22 on Wednesday to approve a $295 billion transportation bill that exceeds the White House's proposed spending level by $11 billion.

President Bush has threatened to veto any package that went over $284 billion. In March, the House approved a version that met this limit.

The Senate and House version of the bill contain identical language to reauthorize and fund the Indian Reservation Roads program for five fiscal years. TEA-LU Act allocates $325 million for 2004, $365 million for 2005, $390 million for 2006, $395 million for 2007, $420 million for 2008 and $420 million for 2009.

Both versions further direct the Bureau of Indian Affairs to limit administrative expenses to a certain amount. For 2006: $27 million, for 2007: $28 million, for 2008: $29 million and for 2009: $30 million.

The bill creates a new position at the Department of Transportation. The deputy assistant secretary for tribal government affairs will be appointed by the president to "plan, coordinate, and implement the Department of Transportation policy and programs serving Indian tribes and tribal organizations and to coordinate tribal transportation programs and activities in all offices and administrations of the Department and to be a participant in any negotiated rulemaking related to, or has impact on, projects, programs, or funding associated with the tribal transportation program."

Regarding Alaska Natives, the bill allows the Transportation and Interior departments to add, at their discretion, additional village roads to the IRR inventory. The bill also creates an Alaska Native Village transportation program in coordination with the Alaska Federation of Natives.

Get the Story:
Senate Approves More Highway Funds (The Washington Post 5/12)
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Senators Exceed Bush's Budget on Highway Bill by $11 Billion (The New York Times 5/12)
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Get the Bill:
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (H.R.3)

Senate Roll Call:
On the Motion (Motion to Waive CBA Re: Amdt. No. 605 and H.R. 3 ) (May 11, 2005)

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