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Shortfall may defer state road projects

Oklahoma City_The state transportation commission has postponed almost $83 million in state highway projects because of a projected shortfall in the federal highway trust fund.

Transportation Director Gary Ridley said Monday the slowing economy and conservation efforts due to high gas prices has meant fewer transportation dollars are flowing into the federal fund.  Ridley says Oklahoma and other states tap into the fund to reimburse state spending on federally approved road projects. But, US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters says the fund could be exhausted as early as next week.

Ridley says Congress and President Bush must act quickly to avoid prolonged delays in state highway projects.  Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe has announced his support for legislation to restore $8 billion to the highway trust fund.

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