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An update from the office of
U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
8th Congressional District of Massachusetts

Congressman Capuano's

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January 25, 2008

Tunnel Inspection Program

On Tuesday the House considered my bill, H.R. 409, which would establish a nationwide tunnel inspection program. The legislation is modeled after the Nationwide Bridge Inspection Program which requires that all highway bridges be inspected and establishes a series of minimum inspection standards. H.R. 409 requires that highway tunnels also be subject to standardized inspection. Since the tragic July 2006 death of Milena Del Valle as a result of a falling ceiling panel in one of the Big Dig tunnels, many questions have been rightfully raised about this project, including issues relating to inspections. Currently there are no national standards or requirements for inspecting highway tunnels. Instead, this responsibility lies with the tunnel owners, who have complete authority to determine how their tunnels should be inspected. At a minimum, tunnel owners must follow the requirements included in their bonding agreements relating to the structure.

My legislation directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish minimum inspection requirements for tunnels, including the maximum amount of time permitted between inspections and the manner in which inspections will be carried out. The Secretary will also establish the qualifications necessary for those conducting inspections, establish a national certification program for highway tunnel inspectors and implement a program to ensure they are properly trained.

H.R. 409 passed in the House by voice vote. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.


On Wednesday the House took an override vote of the President's veto of H.R. 3963: the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007. H.R. 3963 is a revised version of H.R. 976, legislation that the President also vetoed. H.R. 3963 still provides an additional $35 billion over 5 years to provide health insurance for low income children. The 6 million children currently receiving health insurance under SCHIP will continue to be covered and as many as 4 million additional children who are eligible but do not currently receive coverage, will be added.

Several changes were made to the initial SCHIP legislation in an effort to address Republican concerns. Some of these include language further clarifying that the bill is designed to cover low-income children first and a requirement that potential SCHIP enrollees submit documentation showing citizenship if their status is unable to be established through the Social Security Administration. The President again vetoed the SCHIP legislation. Unfortunately, this week's vote to override the veto of H.R. 3963 was not successful. I voted to override the veto and the entire vote is recorded below:



























Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I honored the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this week in company with my friend, the Rev. John Borders, pastor of Morningstar Baptist Church , and several hundred members of his congregation. The Nurses Unit of the church, dedicated women who serve their communities in many ways, organizes an annual breakfast on Martin Luther King Day. Their energy and their choir set the tone for the event which encourages us to rededicate ourselves to Dr. King's dream of freedom, equality, and humanity for every person everywhere in the world.

What's Up Next

Next week, Congress will convene for President Bush's State of the Union Address.

Congressman Mike Capuano
8th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services
Committee on House Administration

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Roxbury Community College, Campus Library, Room 211

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