Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley welcomes passage of transportation bill, says he and Sen. Wyden 'worked hard' to insert one-year extension of federal timber payments to counties
March 14, 2012
– Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement on passage of the Transportation Reauthorization in the U.S. Senate.
“The passage of the transportation bill is great news for Oregon. Oregon’s businesses will soon be able to get their products to market more quickly. Unemployed Oregonians will be put to work rebuilding our roads and bridges. And more of the materials used will be made right here in America, creating even more jobs.
“Senator Sherrod Brown and I partnered to close a critical loophole in the Buy America program. Under the ‘segmentation’ loophole, construction projects could be split into multiple projects in order to use Chinese steel and Chinese workers to manufacture that steel. By closing this loophole, American bridges paid for by American taxpayers will use American steel manufactured by American workers.
“This bill also includes the bipartisan farm trucks amendment that I introduced with Senators Pat Toomey and Roy Blunt. This amendment will allow farmers and ranchers to use their farm trucks to move their goods to processing facilities, even if that facility is across the state line. This is a common sense provision that will make it easier for Oregon farmers to be successful.
“Finally, Senator Wyden and I worked hard to insert a one-year extension of county payments. County payments are a compact between our federal government and the timber counties in Oregon. The federal government should keep its commitment.
“This bill now goes to the House of Representatives, and I hope the House will act quickly to preserve these important provisions and pass the bill so we can get Americans back to work and make key investments in our infrastructure.”