U.S. House approves Oberstar's bridge legislation

Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill March 7, 2008 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Nearly a year after the deadly 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the U.S. House has overwhelmingly approved legislation aimed at improving the safety of the nation's bridges.

House Transportation Committee Chairman, Rep. Jim Oberstar of Minnesota, sponsored the legislation.

Oberstar said it would prohibit states from using money from the Highway Bridge Program for other projects if the state still has federal highway bridges eligible for replacement.

"You've got a structurally fractured critical bridge in your bridge inventory. Fix it first before you transfer money to some other purpose," Oberstar said.

The White House wants Congress to delete the $1 billion in funding from the bill.

Earlier, Oberstar proposed a gas tax increase. President Bush rejected the idea, but it appears Oberstar will try again after the election.

Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar says she will introduce Oberstar's bridge bill in the Senate.

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