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Transportation Officials Want Funding Extension (Dec 06, 2010)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley says he's hopeful for a temporary extension of a federal funding bill by year's end and wants the incoming Congress to enact a more permanent solution next year.

The current federal highway funding bill expired last year and Ridley told the state Transportation Commission on Monday that states have been operating under stop-gap funding measures ever since. The current extension is set to expire Dec. 31.

He says a long-term bill would "make it easier for us to do our work," considering that more than 60 percent of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's construction budget comes from federal dollars.

Matt Dempsey, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., says the passage of a 6-year federal highway funding bill is one of Inhofe's top priorities.

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