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Some Virginia Lawmakers Question Ignoring Local Roads

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By DENA POTTER Associated Press Writer

September 16, 2009 - RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Some Virginia lawmakers are questioning whether it's wise or legal to sacrifice the state's local roads in order to secure federal dollars to maintain and build highways.

Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer told members of the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday that revenue reductions of $4.6 billion over the next six years have forced the state to go after federal highway funding instead of repairing and improving other roads and bridges.

To qualify for federal funds that contribute $4 for every $1 the state pitches in, Virginia must meet minimum construction requirements. Sen. Ed Houck of Spotsylvania said he feared by doing so Virginia was violating a state law that says maintaining roads must be put before building them.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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