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I have signed into law H.R. 5518, the ``Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993.'' This Act includes funding necessary to maintain and improve our transportation system and to support transportation safety.
I am very disappointed that the Congress cut Federal-aid highway funding .3 billion below what I requested. This reduced highways funding will result in 65,000 fewer highway jobs being supported in the coming year. The reduced funding level also could lead to deterioration of the Nation's highway infrastructure. This would slow economic growth and job creation by increasing the transportation costs of goods in interstate commerce. The Congress could have funded Federal-aid highways at the requested level by not funding low priority programs and earmarked projects. Furthermore, the flexibility I proposed for the States to allocate funds according to their own priorities is not provided.
The bill contains an unnecessary and costly auto labeling requirement that may conflict with our international obligations on origin and labeling. In implementing this new requirement, the Department of Transportation will make every effort to provide accurate and meaningful information to consumers while minimizing costs.
The bill purports to require the Secretary of State to inform the Government of Panama within three months of the ``dissatisfaction of the Government of the United States concerning inadequate compliance by Panama with the enforcement provisions of Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships.'' While I am concerned that this convention be properly enforced, decisions of whether and when to communicate with foreign governments are the sole province of the President. I will, therefore, treat this provision only as an indication of congressional concern in this area.
I am disappointed at the undue intrusion into the management of the Department of Transportation contained in this bill. This intrusion includes earmarking funds for projects that should be awarded based on established, objective criteria.
Nevertheless, the amount of funding provided by H.R. 5518 is consistent with my budget request, and thus allows progress toward a freeze in domestic discretionary budget authority. Because the bill provides funding for the continuance of important transportation programs within this level, I have signed it.
The White House,
October 6, 1992.
Note: H.R. 5518, approved October 6, was assigned Public Law No. 102 - 388.