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INCREASE LOCAL LIGHT-RAIL FUNDING

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I was surprised and disappointed to learn in your newspaper that Utah Transit Authority spokesman Bill Barnes claimed that had Utah done a better job in asking Congress for money for Salt Lake City's proposed light-rail system, more funding would have been granted.

In truth, it is only due to Rep. Enid Waldholtz's diligence and persuasiveness on the importance of relieving congestion on I-15 that the Subcommittee on Transportation Appropriations provided Salt Lake City $5 million for high-occupancy vehicle lane and intermodal corridor design costs this year. In fact, it was at her urging that the committee provided the Utah Transit Authority an additional $3.5 million in bus replacement funds this year, which were not included in the House-passed bill last year.As Congress responds to the constituents' demands to balance the budget, Congress will look more to local communities to pay more of the costs of local mass transit projects.

Barnes and the UTA would have much greater success in funding and completing the Salt Lake light-rail project if they would work to find ways to increase the local funding commitment instead of criticizing Waldholtz for a job well done.

Frank R. Wolf, R-Va.

Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation

Washington, D.C.