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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has secured funding totaling US$59.5 billion in President George Bush’s proposed 2002 budget.

“The funding requested in the 2002 budget will help us to address those challenges and save lives, relieve congestion, reduce environmental impacts, and provide greater mobility for all Americans,” says Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.

The almost $60-billion budget represents a 6 per cent increase over 2001, which includes one-time projects totaling more than $2.8 billion.

The 2002 budget blueprint includes full funding for highway and transit guarantees under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), with highway funding increased by 6 per cent from 2001 and transit up by nearly 8 per cent.

Secretary Mineta stressed that safety is the department’s number one priority, and that the budget includes over $7 billion for safety programs, including a total of $400 million to reduce motor carrier fatalities.

In addition, total investment in transportation infrastructure would reach almost $43 billion in 2002, up 39 percent from the average annual investment between 1994 and 2001.

The U.S. president’s budget requires Senate approval.

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