Ohio could lose millions in federal highway funding under House bill

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Ohio could lose millions in federal highway funding under House bill

Chillicothe Gazette — Federal highway funding to Ohio would drop by more than $90 million for the rest of this year under a House transportation proposal, and the state would lose about $60 million in 2013, according to a non-partisan analysis of the Republican-crafted plan.

A competing Senate bill would channel $187 million more to Ohio, within the next two years, than the House bill, said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Brown’s office provided the figures, which are based on a recent state-by-state comparison of the House and Senate proposals by Transportation Weekly.

The House and Senate bills have won committee approval and are awaiting floor action. Although votes were expected this week, both bills have bogged down and will not be completed before the end of February.

Proponents of the House GOP plan, which would set funding levels and transportation policy for the next five years, said the smaller pot of money would be offset by greater flexibility and long-term certainty.

But critics, including Brown, say the House bill would short-change infrastructure, particularly mass transit projects, at a critical moment. He is championing the more generous, two-year Senate plan, which would give states a small inflationary increase and include a new pot of money for major projects, such as the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati and the Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland.

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