Today, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) announced that a temporary one-year extension of vital Secure Rural Schools Payments will be included in a final surface transportation conference bill. DeFazio has been involved in the joint House-Senate negotiations over a two-year surface transportation bill and successfully fought to include the temporary extension of county payments for Oregon counties.
"Recent county budget cuts have forced painful layoffs, eliminated jail beds releasing inmates early, and limited county sheriff's ability to respond to rural emergencies. This temporary extension will provide much needed breathing room for forested communities in Oregon that are quickly approaching financial disaster.
"Ultimately our counties and rural communities need a long term solution -- and this extension gives us the time we need to pass comprehensive federal legislation. I have proposed a bipartisan agreement with Rep. Walden and Rep. Schrader that can break us out of the decades-long logjam on federal forest policy, put Oregonians back to work, improve forest health, and disentangle the health of rural counties from unpredictable federal support payments. We will continue to work with the House Resources Committee to move this long-term solution for Oregon forested communities," DeFazio said.
The one-year extension designates just under $100 million for schools, roads, and law enforcement in failing rural counties in Oregon for the next fiscal year.