What: All Issues : Environment : Rail Transportation : A vote on passage of a Republican amendment to the highway funding bill (HR 3550) that would increase the number of state projects included in the federal government's calculation for determining the minimum of funding support for each state. (2004 house Roll Call 112)
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A vote on passage of a Republican amendment to the highway funding bill (HR 3550) that would increase the number of state projects included in the federal government's calculation for determining the minimum of funding support for each state.
house Roll Call 112     Apr 02, 2004
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

Progressives helped defeat an amendment offered by Rep. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to the highway funding bill (HR 3550) that would increased the number of state projects included in the federal government's calculation for determining the minimum of funding support for each state. HR 3550 as written reiterates the states' position that improved highway funding equity is a critical and necessary part of that legislation; however, over the states' objections, the measure would exempt so-called high priority state projects and other newly-proposed discretionary programs from the scope of the federal "minimum guarantee" of funding for the states. The Isakson amendment was part of a vigorous debate on the size of the pot of money to be divided up among the states according to a formula that takes into account such factors as road miles and usage. Linked to that issue is the percentage return states get for the excise tax dollars they send to the Highway Trust Fund for road projects. The Isakson amendment, sponsored by nine Republicans and a Democrat from donor states that send more in dollars to the trust fund than they get back for projects in their states, would have required money for regional and national projects and for "high priority" projects, those requested by members of Congress, to be included in the formula allocations. Specifically, the amendment would mean that instead of a formula included in HR 3550 that allocates 84 percent of the available money in the bill, the amendment formula would allocate to states 93 percent of the available money in the bill. States would be assured a rate of return of at least 90.5 percent in fiscal 2004, the current guaranteed level, and that rate of return would increase to 95 percent by fiscal 2009. Isakson's amendment failed 170-254, with the defeat helped along by progressives who charged that, by using different assumptions about how the money for regionally significant projects and unallocated high-priority project monies would be handled, most states would actually lose federal funding under the amendment. With Isakson's amendment rejected, the rate of return to states under HR 3550 remains at 84 percent.

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