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Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 8 September 1997



                              WEEKLY UPDATE

                             8 September 1997
                      -----------------------------

                             TOP OF THE NEWS


TRANSPORTATION FUNDING
----------------------
     On September 4, the House Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure released its long-awaited ISTEA reauthorization
proposal, dubbed the "Building Efficient Surface Transportation and
Equity Act," or BESTEA.  The bill would provide a total of $103.2
billion over a three-year period, a 30 percent increase above funding
in the final three years of ISTEA.

     Despite the increased funds and the committee's guarantees about
equity ** such as a 95 percent return on Highway Trust Funds dollars
to so-called "donor" states and the assurance that 47 states will
receive at least as much in funding as they received under ISTEA **
the proposed bill has mixed news for the Northeast-Midwest region. 
Connecticut and Massachusetts, along with Hawaii, are odd-men-out of
the favored 47, and all New England states lose in terms of their
share of the national pot of funds.  Mid-Atlantic states, with the
exception of Pennsylvania, also would receive smaller shares. 
Midwestern states, which traditionally have received far fewer funds
than they have contributed in highway taxes, would obtain small
increases, with the Midwest as a whole gaining 1.1 percent of highway
funds.

     The table below compares BESTEA funds for fiscal 1998 with the
annual average of funds over the life of ISTEA.  It also makes a
constant-dollar comparison, showing BESTEA's distributions to each
state assuming the total U.S. allocation to be the same as ISTEA's
average.

     CONTACTS: Paula Duggan and David Richardson at the Northeast-
Midwest Institute (544-5200).

                  Comparison of ISTEA Average Allocations
            Fiscal 1992-1997 and BESTEA Allocations Fiscal 1998
                         (in thousands of dollars)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        ISTEA
                       Fiscal Percent     BESTEA Percent   Constant
                    1992-1997 of U.S.     Fiscal of U.S.     Dollar   Dollar
State or Region       Average   Total       1998   Total Comparison   Change
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
New England
  Connecticut         340,471   1.990    275,246   1.297    221,978 -118,493
  Maine                87,377   0.511    107,552   0.507     86,738     -639
  Massachusetts       830,000   4.850    461,878   2.177    372,492 -457,508
  New Hampshire        83,312   0.487     90,971   0.429     73,366   -9,946
  Rhode Island         96,821   0.566     94,131   0.444     75,914  -20,907
  Vermont              76,345   0.446     85,510   0.403     68,961   -7,384
Total               1,514,326   8.850  1,115,288   5.256    899,449 -614,877

Mid-Atlantic
  Delaware             72,873   0.426     85,510   0.403     68,961   -3,912
  Maryland            296,446   1.732    323,109   1.523    260,578  -35,868
  New Jersey          488,685   2.856    592,428   2.792    477,777  -10,908
  New York            944,887   5.522  1,146,381   5.403    924,524  -20,363
  Pennsylvania        747,375   4.368  1,072,892   5.057    865,258  117,883
Total               2,550,266  14.904  3,220,320  15.177  2,597,099   46,833

Midwest
  Illinois            614,211   3.589    826,586   3.896    666,619   52,408
  Indiana             393,602   2.300    521,554   2.458    420,619   27,017
  Iowa                202,447   1.183    267,556   1.261    215,776   13,329
  Michigan            495,498   2.896    676,442   3.188    545,532   50,034
  Minnesota           247,025   1.444    319,199   1.504    257,425   10,400
  Ohio                630,685   3.686    810,937   3.822    653,998   23,313
  Wisconsin           340,305   1.989    439,395   2.071    354,360   14,055
Total               2,923,773  17.086  3,861,669  18.200  3,114,329  190,556

South
  Alabama             304,559   1.780    428,205   2.018    345,335   40,776
  Arkansas            207,437   1.212    278,824   1.314    224,864   17,427
  Florida             734,049   4.290    987,336   4.653    796,259   62,210
  Georgia             520,222   3.040    751,732   3.543    606,251   86,029
  Kentucky            267,345   1.562    371,971   1.753    299,984   32,639
  Louisiana           252,951   1.478    342,577   1.615    276,279   23,328
  Mississippi         197,220   1.153    255,790   1.206    206,288    9,068
  North Carolina      455,654   2.663    606,028   2.856    488,745   33,091
  Oklahoma            245,760   1.436    325,356   1.533    262,391   16,631
  South Carolina      226,079   1.321    340,705   1.606    274,769   48,690
  Tennessee           359,150   2.099    485,283   2.287    391,367   32,217
  Texas             1,130,379   6.606  1,476,150   6.957  1,190,474   60,095
  Virginia            392,376   2.293    548,794   2.586    442,587   50,211
  West Virginia       159,282   0.931    224,730   1.059    181,239   21,957
Total               5,452,463  31.864  7,423,481  34.987  5,986,831  534,368

West
  Alaska              212,564   1.242    225,814   1.064    182,113  -30,451
  Arizona             253,541   1.482    333,017   1.569    268,569   15,028
  California        1,613,207   9.427  1,963,968   9.256  1,583,886  -29,321
  Colorado            200,694   1.173    268,390   1.265    216,449   15,755
  Hawaii              125,696   0.735    108,242   0.510     87,294  -38,402
  Idaho               113,709   0.665    127,911   0.603    103,157  -10,552
  Kansas              198,431   1.160    256,916   1.211    207,196    8,765
  Missouri            381,416   2.229    506,602   2.388    408,560   27,144
  Montana             158,942   0.929    145,225   0.684    117,120  -41,822
  Nebraska            138,599   0.810    181,429   0.855    146,317    7,718
  Nevada              103,093   0.602    123,414   0.582     99,530   -3,563
  New Mexico          176,885   1.034    195,193   0.920    157,418  -19,467
  North Dakota        104,847   0.613    103,792   0.489     83,705  -21,142
  Oregon              205,604   1.202    255,469   1.204    206,029      425
  South Dakota        116,338   0.680    109,565   0.516     88,361  -27,977
  Utah                128,454   0.751    173,135   0.816    139,629   11,175
  Washington          326,942   1.911    402,110   1.895    324,291   -2,651
  Wyoming             111,998   0.655    117,124   0.552     94,457  -17,541
Total               4,670,960  27.297  5,597,316  26.380  4,514,080 -156,880

Northeast           4,064,592  23.753  4,335,608  20.434  3,496,548 -568,044
Midwest             2,923,773  17.086  3,861,669  18.200  3,114,329  190,556
NE and MW           6,988,365  40.839  8,197,277  38.633  6,610,876 -377,489

South               5,452,463  31.864  7,423,481  34.987  5,986,831  534,368
West                4,670,960  27.297  5,597,316  26.380  4,514,080 -156,880
South and West     10,123,423  59.161 13,020,797  61.367 10,500,912  377,489

U.S. Total         17,111,788 100.000 21,218,074 100.000 17,111,788        0

SOURCE: Northeast-Midwest staff calculations from Federal Highway
        Administration "Actual Fiscal Year 1992-1997 Federal Aid Highway
        Program Apportionments Under P.L. 102-240," and House Committee on
        Transportation and Infrastructure, "Tables Related to the Building
        Efficient Surface Transportation and Equity Act of 1997."



LIHEAP VICTORY
--------------
     By a 74-25 margin, the Senate last week turned back an attempt by
Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) to cut funding for the Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  Senator Kyl had proposed an amendment to
the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill that would have cut the program by
$528 million and redirected the money towards Pell Grants.

     Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition members Arlen Specter (R-PA)
and Tom Harkin (D-IA) ** chairman and ranking member of the Labor-HHS
Appropriations Subcommittee ** led opposition to the amendment. 
Senators Specter and Harkin referred several times to the Coalition's
recent letter, signed by 55 senators, asking for an increase in LIHEAP
funding for next year as evidence that the Kyl amendment did not
represent the will of the Senate.  In addition, Senators Paul
Wellstone (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Olympia
Snowe (R-ME), and James Jeffords (R-VT) spoke against the amendment.

     The next battle on the LIHEAP front will be to convince House and
Senate conferees to accept the Senate LIHEAP funding level of $1.2
billion for fiscal 1999.  Both the House and Senate are in agreement
to fund the program at $1.0 billion in fiscal 1998, and both chambers
have approved $300 million in emergency funding for fiscal 1998.

     CONTACT:  Geoff Brown at the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition
(224-0606).


ROBOTICS EXPO
-------------
     On September 30, the Congressional Manufacturing Task Force and
the Senate Task Force on Manufacturing are hosting a Congressional
Expo on Robotics and Intelligent machines in the Caucus Room of the
Cannon House Office Building.  The Expo is being presented by the
Robotics and Intelligent Machines Cooperative Council and Sandia
National Labs.

     The Expo will feature robotics and intelligent machine
applications in manufacturing, transportation, health care services,
the environment, agriculture, and food processing.  Universities,
federal agencies, and more than 15 companies from various states will
participate in the event.

     The Expo begins on Tuesday, September 30, with coffee and
pastries at 8:30 a.m. and extends throughout the day.

     CONTACT:  Geoff Brown at the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition
(224-0606).


----------------------------
NORTHEAST-MIDWEST INSTITUTE
http://www.nemw.org
mailto:gstarnes@nemw.org
----------------------------