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Transportation Spending Conference Report Approved by House

After negotiating a compromise on a provision dealing with Mexican trucks, Congress is set to clear the conference report for the FY2002 transportation spending bill (H.R. 2299). On November 30, the House approved the report by a vote of 371-11. The Senate was expected to approved the conference report either later that day or early next week.

The final bill provides a $25 million increase to $125 million for job access and reverse commute grants. The grants are used to aid welfare-to-work recipients living in “urbanized areas with populations greater than 200,000” with transportation costs associated with their jobs. The funding level is the same amount requested by the President and approved by the House and Senate.

The Minority Business Resource Center program is reduced by $1 million to $900,000, the same amount requested by the President and provided by the House and Senate. The program provides “assistance in obtaining short-term working capital and bonding for disadvantaged, minority and women-owned businesses” and “enables qualified businesses to obtain loans at prime interest rates for transportation-related projects.”

Additionally, minority business outreach is level-funded at $3 million, also the same amount requested by the President and provided by the House and Senate.

The bill fully funds the Occupant Protection Incentive Grants program at $15 million, a 15 percent increase over last year. States may qualify for these grants by implementing four out of six programs or laws, as delineated in the committee report, aimed at increasing safety belt use among adults and children.

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