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Talent says transportation package too small

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Jim Talent

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis – Missouri Senator Jim Talent is joining the list of lawmakers who say the federal highway budget is too small.

The U.S. Senate is debating the plan this week.

Talent wants to offer an amendment to let bonds be sold to raise $15 billion. That's on top of an extra $11 billion that were already added by a Senate committee on Monday.

President Bush has threatened to veto the highway bill if it exceeds the $284 billion the House approved in March.

But Talent says he and other supporters feel they must press for more money.

"Because there are innovative ways of financing, and bonding is one of them where you can get the figure at the level that he wants and actually get more purchasing power," Talent said Monday. "And I'm hopeful that we can do that and somehow persuade the administration to go along with it," Talent said.

Talent said he also plans to push for an additional $30 billion in so-called Build America bonds once the bill reaches committee.

Missouri's senior U.S. Senator, Kit Bond, is helping write the highway bill. He has also called for more money to be spent than the President wants.

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