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The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Al Gore
President of the Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Mr. President:
Enclosed for the consideration of Congress and referral to the appropriate committee is a bill--
To amend the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge Authority Act of 1995 to provide advance contract authority for fiscal years 2004 through 2007, and for other purposes.
The Clinton Administration and Congress have worked closely together since 1995, in conjunction with local representatives of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, to bring about a solution to the congestion and deteriorating conditions at the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge that impact mobility and growth of the National Capital region. Enactment of the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge Authority Act of 1995, and the funding provided last year in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21), were both critical steps for the nation as well, because the Wilson Bridge is a vital link in the Interstate 95 corridor along the East Coast.
Progress on the replacement bridge agreed to in 1995 is now threatened because total funding has not been committed by the jurisdictions involved, and a funding solution is needed to advance the project and bring about an orderly outcome in pending litigation. Together with the commitments we expect from the participating states and the District of Columbia, the funding proposed by the enclosed draft legislation will meet the fiscal constraint requirements of the transportation conformity provisions of the Clean Air Act and the requirements of TEA 21 for a detailed financial plan for the Bridge. The proposed $600 million in new contract authority, combined with the $900 million already made available by TEA 21, represents the total special federal funding for the replacement bridge and associated projects.
I am pleased to transmit this proposal to Congress in fulfillment of the Clinton Administration's commitment since 1993 to provide needed transportation
infrastructure to support a growing and globalized national economy. It recognizes the need to construct a bridge that will provide mobility for the new millennium, while preserving the environmental protections and considering the interests of those affected by the design.
The Office of Management and Budget advises that enactment of the proposed legislation would be consistent with the President's program.
Rodney E. Slater