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Houses OKs bill that could bring #036;2 million to Chesapeake Bypass

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland said he would fight for more funding for southern Ohio and he has.

The House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday which earmarked $16 million for highway projects in Ohio's 6th district - including the Chesapeake Bypass.

"This bill contains money that will provide the most basic stimulus to our economy: Jobs," said Strickland.

"Not only will this legislation make our roads and highways safer, but it will put Americans to work at a time when our region continues to struggle.

"It is estimated that for every $1 billion invested in federal highways and transit systems, 47,500 jobs are created or sustained.

That is not a number to be taken lightly."

The legislation includes funds for several projects in Strickland's district, including $2 million towards construction of the Chesapeake Bypass, also called the Tri State Metro Outer Belt, $1.25 million towards the next phase of construction on Farm Road in Gallipolis

and $500,000 for the construction of a transportation hub in Marietta.

The bill was approved by a margin of 417-9.

The legislation would provide $284 billion in federal highway, transit and road safety projects through 2009.

It must now be passed by the Senate and approved by President Bush.

House and Senate leaders have been trying to reach an agreement with the administration on the funding level for the highway bill for nearly two years.

When last year's $275 billion, six-year plan passed the House of Representatives, the Bush administration threatened a veto of the bill because it thought the funding amount was too high.

In support of this year's bill, 24 Republican Senators sent a letter to the President on Jan. 27, noting that an inadequate administration reauthorization proposal would hurt efforts to get, "an equitable distribution of federal transportation funds among donor and donee states, needed safety improvements, transit improvements and job creation."

"It's heartening to see this needed legislation receive so much bipartisan support," Strickland said. "It's about time this legislation is signed into law."