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Mineta reminds Congress of SAFETEA guidelines

“Treasury Secretary Snow and I have delivered to Congressional leadership this morning (Feb. 3) a letter reaffirming the Administration’s position on the appropriate funding level for the surface transportation reauthorization known as SAFETEA.

As Congress gets set to begin work on the proposal, we felt it necessary to restate three important principles that must be followed if we are to recommend to the President that he sign any bill coming from the Hill.

“First, transportation infrastructure spending should not rely on an increase in the gas tax or other federal taxes.

“Second, transportation infrastructure spending should not be funded through bonding or other mechanisms that conceal the true cost to federal taxpayers.

“And third, highway spending should be financed from the Highway Trust Fund, not the General Fund of the Treasury.

“And our letter is very clear on one other important point. If a surface transportation reauthorization bill that breaches any of these three principles were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

"The Administration’s proposal gets the job done, without raising taxes or increasing the deficit. And both Secretary Snow and I look forward to working with Congress to pass the bill as soon as possible.”