Today, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) applauded the passage of a temporary one-year extension of vital Secure Rural Schools Payments included in surface transportation legislation. As a primary negotiator, DeFazio fought to include the temporary extension of county payments for Oregon counties in the legislation. The legislation also prevents Stafford student loan interest rates from doubling for over 7.5 million students, including 120,000 students in Oregon.
DeFazio statement is below:
"The passage of a transportation bill is a huge victory for tens of thousands of Oregonians.
"First and foremost, it contains a one-year extension of county payments. That's $100 million to counties in southwest Oregon and rural schools, to help them deal with their financial difficulties. This means counties may be able to restore critical services like jail beds and sheriff's patrols.
"Secondly, the bill contained one year of lower interest rates for 120,000 students in Oregon who are getting Stafford student loans. Without this fix, their interest rates would double on July 1st. We have staved off that disaster and I've introduced a bill to make their lower interest rates permanent.
"And finally the jobs. Millions of jobs across the country will be created or saved because of this 27 month surface transportation bill. It means a tremendous investment in Oregon's roads, bridges, highways, and transit systems. At home, it means thousands of people will be put to work and it helps small businesses that supply the industry. This bill also contains the same formula I negotiated six years ago in the last major transportation bill that means Oregon will be a net-beneficiary. That means we will get more dollars to fix our roads, bridges, and highways than we send to Washington, D.C. through the gas tax.
"All in all, this is great news just in time to celebrate our nation's birthday on the 4th of July."