The House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday establishing the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, a key portion of the RESTORE Act. The language was approved today as part of a broader 90-day extension of federal transportation funding that passed the House by a 293 to 127 vote.
"House approval of the RESTORE language substantially strengthens the likelihood that a final version of the transportation bill will also contain the full RESTORE Act," said Congressman Jo Bonner, R-Alabama.
In February, the House passed similar RESTORE language in a three part effort to reform transportation programs, however the bill has been slow to advance in the Senate. This renewed effort to authorize funding for transportation is seen as a better vehicle for RESTORE since the Senate has already passed a transportation bill with a full version of the RESTORE Act.
"Fortunately, RESTORE is one of the areas where Congress has been able to reach a consensus. As we proceed to Conference on a final transportation bill, both chambers now agree that 80 percent of clean water act fines from the 2010 oil spill should be sent to the Gulf states for restoration efforts.
"A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to keep RESTORE on the Congressional agenda during a time when much legislation is mired in election-year politics. This represents our best opportunity to get a final version of RESTORE signed."