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Friday, January 23, 2009

Gov. Doyle vows to spend federal rail funds fast

From an article by Ellyn Ferguson in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin could quickly and effectively spend any rail money Congress provides in an economic recovery package, Gov. Jim Doyle said Thursday.

Doyle and others were called by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to rebut a federal report that said states could not use economic recovery money for roads, bridges and transit quickly enough to generate jobs and counter the recession.

States would have to commit money to projects within a 90-day deadline.

Opponents of the infrastructure portion of the $825 billion economic recovery package have used the report by the Congressional Budget Office, the fiscal watchdog for Congress, to fight the bill.

"The purpose of this hearing today is to nail down the ability of the states to meet these deadlines," committee chairman Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., said.

Oberstar said transportation and infrastructure projects could produce 1 million jobs by early June if Congress approves the economic recovery package by mid-February.

"We share your view that this recovery act should be designed to get people to work," said Doyle, who testified on behalf of States for Passenger Rail Coalition.

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