U.S. Government shutdown looms

By: Rebecca Turco

Email: rturco@abc6.com

PROVIDENCE – Another federal government shutdown looms on the horizon as highway funding runs out.

Congress has until Wednesday to decide on the government’s funding plan. Otherwise, there could be furloughs.

Last year, a government shutdown was narrowly avoided.

House Speaker John Boehner is now a sitting duck, after announcing his resignation Friday. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D – RI) feels that could help with negotiations. “It could be for the best if he’s now free to do what’s right without having to worry about being attacked by his tea party fanatics,” he explained.

Highway funding is part of ongoing discussions. That money expires on October 29.

Rhode Island road projects are funded about 80 percent by federal money, according to Department of Transportation officials. The state received $211 million in fiscal year 2014, the last full year of authorized funding.

Under Whitehouse’s six-year highway bill, Rhode Island could get $221 million next year and more in years following. He is hoping the House will pass its own version soon. “It’s a big immediate loss and it’s a big opportunity cost,” he told ABC6 News. “It would be just pathetic if the House couldn’t get its act together. So we’re trying to put pressure on so they will.”

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