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Congresswoman Plaskett Says She Restored Highway Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) said she was able to defeat a measure in Congress that would have cut federal highway funding for the U.S. territories of the Virgin Islands and Guam.

According to her office, Plaskett helped defeat an amendment to the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act, which would have changed the formula for funding under the Territorial Highway Program.

The amendment, co-sponsored by Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Congressman Greg Kilili Sablan, would have divided about $40 million in annual highway funding between the U.S. territories, based on highway miles and population.

“Had this amendment been successful it would have potentially hurt the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam by taking already minimal funds away from these two territories under the Territorial Highway Program. My office was able to galvanize support from members on both sides of the aisle to defeat this last minute amendment,” Plaskett said in a written statement.

“The funding provided in the Transportation bill is yet another example of this Congress’ inability to address the real needs of all the U.S. territories, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, whose economies have not recovered and require additional support,” Plaskett said. “While I certainly recognize and empathize with the frustrations of some of my colleagues from the territories, I believe it is a larger example of how—in the circumstances—the limited funding within this bill has created an environment where we are literally fighting over scraps. The proposed funding in the bill barely provides any increase to the historically low allocation for the Territorial Highway Program. It is my sincerest hope that the delegates representing the U.S. territories can work together to obtain reasonable funding and not pit one territory against the other.”

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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