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Senate approves Highway Trust Fund extension

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate gave final approval on March 17 to a bill known as the "HIRE Act" containing seven transportation provisions including an extension of authorization for federal highway and transit programs through Dec. 31, 2010, as well as providing $19.5 billion to the Highway Trust Fund. The vote to concur with House of Representative amendments sends the legislation to President Barack Obama.

"Hundreds of thousands of construction workers and state department of transportation employees from across the country are breathing a collective sigh of relief today now that the Senate has approved the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act," said John Horsley, executive director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). "We are delighted that Congress has passed this significant piece of legislation."

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) announced on March 16 that the House of Representatives was expected to vote the next day on a bill, HR 4853, to modify two provisions of the HIRE Act approved by the Senate. Oberstar had objected to two formula provisions in the bill when the House considered Senate amendments March 4 but he agreed to support returning the measure to the Senate after receiving a letter from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pledging to have the Senate consider Oberstar’s modifications later.

View the full story at www.aashtojournal.org/Pages/031710hireact.aspx.