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Cost of Transit Bill Tops Bush's Guidelines

The highway bill signed into law by President Bush is nearly $30 billion richer than what Bush first proposed -- and it tops the figure he said he'd veto. /P>

The $286.4 billion bill is loaded with thousands of earmarks -- specific "set aside" elements that members of Congress can make for transportation projects in their own state. The legislation's price tag tops the $284 billion Bush called for earlier this year, threatening to veto anything above that mark.

The president has set a goal to cut the federal budget deficit in half by 2009, warning that Congress must control spending.

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David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.