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AASHTO Journal

House Passes $50 Billion for Hurricane Sandy Relief

By a final vote of 241-180, the House of Representatives passed $50.66 billion in emergency supplemental funding to help the eastern coast rebuild after Hurricane Sandy swept through last October.

The House measure gives the U.S. Department of Transportation $1 billion more than both the request from the President and the recently passed Senate version of the bill ($13.07 billion versus $12.07 billion). Most of the additional funds are targeted for the Federal Highway Administration (an increase in the House bill to just more $2.02 billion from the Senate's $921 million). The House bill decreases the amount of money the Senate approved for grants to Amtrak through the Federal Railroad Administration (down to $118 million from the Senate's $336 million).

The House had previously passed $9.7 billion in funding for the National Flood Insurance program on Jan. 4, stating it would address the rest of the funding called for by President Obama and the Senate when the 113th Congress took over (see related story: bit.ly/HouseSenateSandy).

The Senate had already passed an all-inclusive bill on Friday, Dec. 28 totaling roughly $60 billion, which is very close to the number passed by the House when combining the two separate amounts that body passed. However, the House drafted and passed its own bill, H.R. 152​, meaning the Senate will now have to work off what the House passed.

Originally, majority members in the House planned on scaling back the funding to a total of about $17 billion, which passed the House by a vote of 327-91. However, an amendment by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) to add $33.6 billion in transportation and other spending for the victims of the storm passed by a vote of 228-192.

The Senate will be back in session next week and will likely take action on the House version.

1/18/2013
Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.