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County timber payments pass U.S. Senate

Published on March 15, 2012 3:01AM

Last changed on April 12, 2012 8:49AM

A one-year extension of county timber payments has passed the U.S. Senate and is headed for the House.

The payments were included in a bill some are calling an historic transportation bill, which included a farm-truck amendment introduced by Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

The amendment makes it easier for farmers and ranchers to transport goods across state lines.

"This amendment will allow farmers and ranchers to use their farm trucks to move their goods to processing facilities, even if that facility is across the state lines," Merkley said in a prepared statement.

The transportation bill includes several safety initiatives and provides $2 billion a year in funding for highway projects.

The one-year extension of what are known as Secure Rural Schools funds includes a 5 percent ramp-down from the fiscal year 2011 amount, leaving Oregon with $102 million for fiscal year 2012.

"Including Secure Rural Schools in this bill gives financially strained counties some breathing room for the next year while we search for a more permanent and long-range solution to funding schools, law enforcement, roads and other vital local services," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in a prepared statement.

--Mitch Lies


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