FEDERAL $US 35 MILLION EXPECTED FOR AMERICAN SAMOA

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ROAD IMPROVEMENTS

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (May 27, 1998 - Samoa News)---Close to $ 35 million (US) in funding for road improvements is expected to be made available to the territory by the U.S. federal government soon.

The credit goes to Congressman Faleomavaega Eni, Governor Tauese Sunia and the man responsible for putting together the proposal, Birdie Ala'ilima, who serves as Special Assistant to the Public Works Director, reports the Samoa News.

Announcing the good news from his Washington, DC Office, Congressman Eni Faleomavaega noted in a press statement yesterday that the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have adopted a six year transportation bill which includes $33.84 million in federal highway funding for American Samoa.

"In many states, residents contribute more in federal gas taxes than the state receives through the highway programs. . . . Other states receive more than they contribute," explained the Congressman. "The funding inequality has created resentment, pitting states against each other.

"Given this heated atmosphere in Congress and the fact that the federal gas tax is not collected, nor contributed by the territories, we are very fortunate to receive $34 million in benefits under the transportation bill."

The newly-named legislation -- the "Transportation and Equity Act for the 21st Century" (TEA-21) -- replaces the "Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act" (ISTEA), which expired last year.

After several weeks of U.S. Congress conference negotiations on competing transportation bills, the House approved the compromise legislation, 297 to 86, with the Senate voting in its favor, 88 to 5.

The massive transportation bill adopted by Congress is expected to be signed into law shortly by President Clinton.

"The transportation bill which was adopted also provides American Samoa with close to $22 million over six years from the National Highway System Program, protecting our annual federal highway allocation and increasing it by 10 percent," said Faleomavaega.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to samoanews@samoatelco.com

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