Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe says highway bill compromise will be good for states

A lead Republican negotiator on the bill, Sen. Jim Inhofe says Oklahoma officials will have more flexibility in how they spend their money, and road projects won't be delayed as long by environmental reviews.
by Chris Casteel Modified: June 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm •  Published: June 28, 2012
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“As with any compromise, we didn't get everything we wanted, but I believe we truly have a good bill — one conservatives can be proud to support.”

Inhofe said the bill would:

• Reduce the number of transportation programs covered by the bill by two-thirds, eliminating and consolidating those that are “duplicative or don't serve a national goal.”

• Reduce the environmental review process from an average of 15 years to seven years.

• Allow states to address their highest priorities rather than ones established in Washington.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the lead Senate negotiator, said, “We speed up project delivery, cut red tape and do it without jeopardizing environmental laws. For the first time, we send half of the funds for bike paths and pedestrian walkways directly to local entities, and we protect those funds while giving states more flexibility on their share.

“Our country needs the kind of economic boost that this bill offers, and I am looking forward to getting it to the president's desk.”

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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