- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 10, 2001

President Bush's proposed 2002 budget includes money for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and increased funding for preschool and public school students in the District.
The president also proposed spending $17 million to continue funding tuition assistance, which permits D.C. high school graduates to attend state colleges and universities around the country at in-state-tuition rates.
Although this does not represent an increase in funding over levels of the past two years, it is not a reduction.
"I am particularly pleased about full funding for the D.C. College Access Act," said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's nonvoting congressional representative.
According to Mrs. Norton, nearly 2,000 students are attending colleges nationwide through the College Access Act. She described the tuition program and $5 billion authorized to cover the pension liabilities of District of Columbia government employees as "indispensable basics that have been a part of presidential budgets in recent years."
"This is a new president and we haven't had the opportunity to sit down with him and ask for add-ons. For the past few months, we concentrated on the basics and that's what we got," said Mrs. Norton, a Democrat.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams also said he was pleased.
"Today's action by the president reflects his commitment to education in the District of Columbia," he said. "We're encouraged to continue to work with the Bush administration to achieve the District's priorities."
The proposed budget increases federal funding for education in the District to $138.6 million. Funding for Head Start preschool programs would rise to $24 million.
Mr. Bush proposed $203 million for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project for fiscal 2002, which is $9 million more than the previous year and consistent with project engineers' requests, said John Undeland, a spokesman for the bridge project.
The federal government is expected to fund the bulk of the $2.2 billion bridge project. Virginia and Maryland will contribute $200 million each. The District is contributing $15 million.
The proposed budget also includes several capital projects in the District, including $25 million to build a new Metro station at New York Avenue and $31.8 million to renovate the Internal Revenue Service headquarters.
Mr. Bush also allocated $19 million to enhance environmental protection efforts and $186 million to provide housing assistance and services for the city's low-income residents.
Tax cuts in the proposed budget would mean lower tax bills for 210,000 D.C. residents. A reduction in the marginal tax rate would lower bills for 34,000 of the District's small businesses.
The president didn't neglect culture or arts in his budget, either. He proposes $494 million, a $40 million increase, for the Smithsonian Institution, $34 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and $8 million for the District's Commission of Fine Arts.
The plan cuts more than $100 million for the District, but most of that comes from a cut in the funding for the Office of the D.C. Corrections Trustee. By the end of this year, D.C. inmates will begin serving their sentences in federal prison as Lorton closes. Next year, costs of housing D.C. inmates will be funded under the Bureau of Prisons' budget.
The rest of the decrease is made up of one-time-only items funded last year, such as $25 million for the New York Avenue Metro stop and nearly $6 million for the presidential inauguration.
The federal appropriation is only a small part of the the citys proposed $5.3 billion budget. Since the lump sum federal payment was eliminated in 1997, most of the citys revenue is local.
*This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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