Senate Transportation Bill Averts FAA Shutdown

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The Federal Aviation Administration won't face a temporary shutdown after the Senate passed a bill Thursday, temporarily extending federal aviation and highway programs.

The measure was passed 92-6 after Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., dropped his objection to a requirement that states use part of their federal highway funds for bike paths, walking trails, and other transportation "enhancements."

According to the Republican lawmaker, those enhancements are nothing more than wasteful spending.
The measure includes the following:

  • $110,000 for an observation area for white squirrels in Tennessee.
  • $250,000 for a Twin Dragons gateway to Los Angeles' Chinatown area.
  • $198,000 for a Corvette simulator at a museum in Kentucky.

"All we're are saying is if your state wants to continue spending money on something other than safety, bridges and roads, let them," Coburn charged.

"But don't make those of us who have big problems with safety have to spend money on something that doesn't protect our citizens," he said.

The Associated Press reports that Coburn relented after assurances that the enhancement funding would be dropped at a later date.

The transportation spending bill will now be sent to the president's desk for his signature.

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